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At the beginning of September, the Pomodoro da Industria del Nord Italia IO, along with several improvement consortia, signed a joint solutions protocol for Parma and Piacenza.
The consortia involved are aiming at developing and improving the reputation of the territories of Parma and Piacenza, and they will be working alongside the Pomodoro Nord Italia IO (the tomato processing industry's interbranch organization representing 2 000 growers and 29 processors) to carry out programs that are necessary in order to optimize the water supply for the processing tomato industry and prevent the water crises that periodically threaten this agricultural sector, whose operations cover almost 15 000 hectares of crops.
The purpose of this protocol is to identify adjustments needed for the existing infrastructures and any new work required to increase the irrigation capacity of these two provinces, as well as to mobilize potential funding sources and set up the programs and schedules for carrying out the work.
From left to right: Elena Levati (city council member for Collecchio, Parma), Luigi Spinazzi (President of the Parma Consorzio di bonifica), Tiberio Rabboni (President of the Pomodoro da industria del Nord Italia IO), Simona Caselli (Regional Councilor for Agriculture for Emilia Romagna) and Fausto Zermani (President of the Piacenza Consorzio di bonifica).
For Tiberio Rabboni, president of the Pomodoro Nord IO, "this protocol is a practical implementation of the responsibility that was entrusted to us by Emilia Romagna authorities during the water crisis of summer 2017. [...] We hope to be able to extend this agreement to other development consortia in the North of Italy."
The General Secretary for the Pô Basin Authority, Meuccio Berselli, has insisted on the importance of "harmonizing the territorial balance with regard to irrigation water requirements, at a time when climate change is having an impact on what was previously considered as a seasonal effect. Today, we must adopt a global and integrated approach, so as to take account of all the complex features of our territory: environment, economy, food industry and biodiversity."
Fausto Zermani, president of the development consortium for Piacenza, underlined the fact that water shortages are less often due to lower volumes of rain then to the absence of an efficient strategy that allows operators to make appropriate use of available resources. He stated that "the IO encourages dialogue between the different operators of the industry and plays an essential and intelligent role in this new form of consultation, which can lead to positive results."
Simona Caselli, Regional Councilor for Agriculture of Emilia Romagna, stated that "one of the priority features of what we are doing is the creation of new infrastructures to conserve and distribute water resources. […] Close on EUR 18 million have been made available for growers and the development consortia through two applications of the Rural Development Plan with the objective of building reservoirs for irrigation water. We have also allocated EUR 1.2 million to training and advice programs regarding the issues of water management. Finally, EUR 1.7 million have been made available for supporting nine projects that are expected to increase the efficiency of irrigation and improve the quality of water."