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Italy Agriculture Minister Calls for Adaptation to Drought-Prone Climate Conditions

Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida told Reuters that the ongoing drought in Italy is a consequence of climate change, and the country must adapt to the new reality.

Shivam Dwivedi
Italy Agriculture Minister Calls for Adaptation to Drought-Prone Climate Conditions (Photo Source- VOA Africa)
Italy Agriculture Minister Calls for Adaptation to Drought-Prone Climate Conditions (Photo Source- VOA Africa)

Italy's Agriculture Minister Lollobrigida has recently informed Reuters why the country needs to develop additional rainwater catchment basins, replace faulty water networks, and consider eliminating traditional but water-intensive crops from increasingly arid regions.

The Minister, who is a senior member of the ruling Brothers of Italy party, highlighted that the drought is not a one-time occurrence but is linked to climate change. Italy faced its worst drought in 70 years in 2022, and extended dry winter weather has raised concerns that 2023 may be even more severe, alarming both the agricultural and industrial sectors that depend on abundant water supplies.

To address the situation, the government has appointed a commissioner to oversee the issue and coordinate a task team of senior officials from various ministries. Lollobrigida stressed the importance of efficient water consumption in agriculture, investment in research, use of new drip irrigation methods and underground irrigation, and organizing to use every drop of water without waste.

He revealed that leaky pipes were a significant issue, with 41.2% of water lost from the national network before reaching the taps, while Germany had a water dispersion rate of 6.5%, according to the ministry.

Lollobrigida suggested building more pools to collect rainfall, stating that precipitation had not decreased significantly but had occurred in shorter, sharper bursts, as happened last week in the northern Emilia Romagna region, causing floods. Italy has a water catchment of only 11%, and Lollobrigida suggested repairing dozens of Italy's almost 530 dams that had fallen into disrepair, estimating that 30% of the country's dams were clogged.

Despite acknowledging that human-induced climate change was responsible for the drought, the minister dismissed claims that the government was attempting to obstruct EU efforts to reduce carbon emissions and green the economy. Since January, Italy has called for the EU to weaken a rule aimed at boosting building energy efficiency, weaken plans to phase out combustion engine automobiles, and question a campaign to reduce industrial emissions.

Lollobrigida urged citizens to be more pragmatic and less ideological and warned about the potential of turning Italian industry "into a desert" by demanding strict CO2-reduction targets when other countries do not.

He further advised against abruptly stopping CO2 production when some countries on the other side of the world are increasing production using energy with a significant environmental impact, stating that such actions may not change the planet much, and it could even worsen.

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