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Drought causes 1bn euros crop damage in Italy
by Staff Writers
Rome (AFP) Aug 9, 2012

Heatwaves and drought have caused around one billion euros ($1.2 billion) in crop damage in Italy, the head of the country's agricultural association said Thursday.

"The unusual weather conditions have and are continuing to damage to crops, the cost of which have risen to nearly one billion euros," Mario Guidi, president of the Confagricoltura association was quoted as saying by the RadioCor agency.

"The situation has gotten worse in the past weeks," said Agriculture Minister Mario Catania, who pledged to work with farmers to speed up declaring a natural disaster and unlocking aid.

She said she had asked the European Commission to pay funds due under the EU' CAP farm programme 50 days early to help farmers.

Three northern Italian regions have already tapped national funds that compensate farmers for up to 80 percent of the value of their lost crops.

The farmers' union Coldiretti estimated earlier this week that heat and drought had caused a 20 percent drop in the tomato crop, a 30 percent fall for corn and a 40 percent shortfall for soya.

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