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Yellow glory of Italy's mimosa harvest comes early

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Seborga (Italy) (AFP)

Workers in northwestern Italy are rushing to harvest millions of bright yellow mimosa flowers, but they say the crop is coming increasingly early because of climate change.

The flowers are usually popular around March 8, International Women's Day, said Franco Fogliarini, president of the local Cooperativa Agroflor in self-proclaimed principality Seborga.

"In recent years there has been a climate change that has favoured this early flowering, especially in February and also early January," said Fogliarini.

"For us it's a bit of a problem because it gives us little time for the harvest and sales," he said.

Meanwhile, the workers keep cutting the fragile flowers on the hills around Seborga on the Riviera dei Fiori (Flower Riviera), just across the border from France.

The local economy in the low and isolated hills has been largely dependent on the flowers for the last 50 years.

They are hand picked, painstakingly packed into boxes and then despatched around Italy, to the rest of Europe and beyond.

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