Summer has just arrived but the heat has continued, for months, to record values beyond the norm; it is not raining and the water crisis that is hitting the whole of Italy heavily – but especially our Piedmont – has now become a real problem. With repercussions on soil fertility and consequently on agriculture – and on the prices of fruit and vegetables – and on animals that consume large quantities of water.
Alarm for corn and lowland fruit crops
“Piedmont has a whole series of crops linked to water – explains Francesco Sottile of the Slowfood Scientific Committee and professor of Agriculture at the University of Palermo – think of corn and lowland fruit growing. And with such a marked situation, it is necessary to think about changes in agriculture, about species that adapt to climate change. But beware of dry farming – he specifies – (ie all those precautions aimed at allowing cultivation in the absence of irrigation, ed): the more you adapt, the less, over time, we will tend to try to solve the problem at its root. ”
Alpine cheeses at risk
In Piedmont then, although Sottile specifies that in this situation “all sectors are at risk”, there will also be direct consequences on the production of mountain pasture cheeses. The mountain pastures, due to the scarcity of water resources, have difficulty in carrying out their activity: the flocks need water and if it is lacking, it becomes automatic to return to the stables ahead of time, because the cattle on the high ground no longer have anything to do. eat or drink. The cascading effect is therefore a lower production of cheese, which in Piedmont, in summer, is the one with an intense flavor with marked notes of herbs and flowers that recall high altitude meadows.
A phenomenon that has been awaited for years
This year the situation has precipitated but the phenomenon of drought has been awaited for years: “For some time now there have been situations of water shortage throughout Europe, patchy – he explains -, the question is that until the problem it does not affect us directly, that is, when there is no water, we do not talk about it. And when we do talk about it, it is already too late “.
Rationing water is the watchword
And now that we have reached a point where there is very little water, is it too late to think of finding a solution? “This summer now we can do very little but try to live with this deficiency – Sottile goes on -. Rationing is the watchword, ‘navigating’ between agriculture and the needs of the population. serious, discussing how to manage the waters of the Po, which feeds agriculture throughout Northern Italy. As regards Southern Italy, moreover, it is necessary to learn how to manage the reservoirs “. Finally, there is the issue of livestock: “Large livestock farms consume large quantities of water – concludes Francesco Sottile – In the North this sector should also be managed differently, in a more sustainable way. We should all consume less meat and of better quality: our health would also benefit “.