The Maremma flood in November 2012 cost the Albinia plant of Conserve Italia 25 million euros. Ten years later, the nightmare has returned and the Barbiano plant, between Imola and Ravenna, is now under water. But it is early to count the damage: “We are still without light, it is impossible to evaluate the plants”, says Maurizio Gardini, president of the largest Italian group of preserves, among his brands there are blockbusters such as Valfrutta, Cirio and Yoga.
The fruit juice factory
80 centimeters of water accumulated in the Barbiano factory, but in the warehouses the goods were damaged up to two meters in height, «and this is all product to be thrown away – says Gardini – before being able to reach the machinery, there will be shovel 15cm of mud. So we’ll have to disassemble every single mechanical piece to evaluate it. In the plant we produce fruit juices and in these days we were working at full capacity, in view of the increase in summer demand». The workers of Conserve Italia work twice, they shovel their homes and then place themselves at the disposal of their company: «their houses are flooded but they come to lend a hand to the factory» says Gardini, his voice full of gratitude.
As president of Confcooperative, Gardini will also sit at the table that the government has convened for Tuesday 23 May: «In addition to the suspension of taxes, contributions and mortgage installments – he says – this time there is also a need for deep economic support lost. Our farmer members come from years of crops decimated by parasites, frosts and drought: morale is down and the flood risks giving the coup de grace».
The submerged vineyards
Agrintesa’s Trebbiano grape vineyards range from Bologna to the sea, but the heart of production is in Romagna and the members affected by the flood number more than a thousand. «Counting them all is impossible because some of these areas cannot even be reached by telephone», says the director, Cristian Moretti. The cellars are flooded and more than 5,000 hectares have gone under water. In some lands, the height of the flood has even exceeded that of the plants: «Compared to peach or pear trees, which suffocate underwater within two days and then die, the vine is more resistant – explains Moretti – but not for this reason it is immune from pitfalls. If farmers are unable to access the countryside soon to apply treatments, we risk attacks by fungi and parasites which will irreparably compromise the whole year». In short, where it is not water that kills, downy mildew and powdery mildew risk doing so. «The ground no longer absorbs water – says Moretti – and at the same time we don’t even have a regular outflow of water because the rivers have not simply overflowed, they have just broken their banks. If we don’t restore the latter urgently, the water will not stop flooding the fields”.