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Italy - Hailstorms between Veneto and Marche regions

Not a very happy Easter for the fresh produce sector. After months of drought and temperatures above the seasonal average, a heavy storm damaged a wide area between the Veneto and the Marche regions.

Damaged radicchio in Chioggia (source Gbp)

Damage has been reported from Chioggia to Pesaro passing through Bologna, Ravenna and Cesena. Hail and wind but, most of all, heavy rain, damaged both fruit (mainly apricots and strawberries) and vegetables such as radicchio, spinach and onions.

Giuseppe Boscolo Palo, president of the Consorzio del Radicchio di Chioggia, reported that “everything started in the lagoon with a watersprout. Then hail affected the area between the Brenta and Adige rivers, damaging early radicchio.”

“10% of the produce has been discarded in the areas only partially affected, so the rest is only going to be worse. I talked to a few producers who said 30% of the produce has been damaged.”

Near Medicina (Bologna), wind and hail damaged onion crops and the hills around Imola, renowned for their apricot production, also reported damage. Castel San Pietro, Budrio, Castenaso, Crevalcore and Granarolo were affected by the hailstorm as well, just like Palata di Crevalcore, Decima di San Giovanni in Persiceto, Castello d’Argile and Pieve di Cento

In the Ferrara area, the hailstorm hit the Codigoro area. Technician Alessandro Passerini reports a heavy hailstorm in the low Ferrara area towards the coast (Bondeno, Cento and Renazzo municipalities).

Anti-hail net full of hailstones. Right, kiwi branches broken by the force of the wind (up to 85 km/h) in the low Cesena area 

In Ravenna, the hailstorm hit in some areas while sparing others. The area towards the sea was affected as well as Casola Valsenio on the hills, as reported by Fabio Pesci from Condifesa Ravenna.

In Cesena, it hailed at 11 pm and after midnight and stones were as big as walnuts. Andrea Ferrini, president of Condifesa FC-RN, reports that both the Forlì and Cesena provinces were affected.

Strawberries damaged by the hail in Gambettola. The damage can be fully assessed only 24-48 hours after the event 

Producers Massimo Brunelli from east Cesena showed us his damaged nectarines. Luckily, a couple of days ago, he had installed the anti-hail nets on two hectares of Pink Lady apples. His neighbour’s apricot orchard was heavily damaged.

In Gambettola, uncovered strawberry crops were also heavily damaged. In addition, Consorzio Agrario Adriatico Luca Molinari and Andrea Rossi explained that the strong wind broke young kiwi trees. 

Christian Zavalloni, producer from the lower Cesena area, showed us various hectares of spinach which had to be harvested between 18th and 20th April. “Unfortunately the leaves are macerated and there is nothing we can do.”

Spinach ready to be harvested damaged by the hailstorm 

“Onions were also affected but, being late crops, it will be possible to recover the production. The hailstones even pierced the non-woven fabric, while the wind knocked over the bins and crates in various warehouses.”

Non-woven fabric pierced by the hailstones

What is more, in addition to the damage, producers need to spend more money to treat fruit against Monilia to prevent the spreading of the fungus on apricot, peach and other products.

Hailstorms were reported also in the lower Rimini area as far as Pesaro. The weather forecast for the next few days talk about further drops in temperature.

Source –

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