Italian farmers said Thursday they are facing serious financial problems due to high production costs, expensive taxes and low yields. National statistics agency Istat also said that data confirms production costs are high while prices for crops are falling. Energy costs were serious factors, rising by 10.6% in the past year, while fertilizer prices rose by 8.8%. Yet at the same time, farmers\' earnings are falling, says the Italian Farmers Confederation. In the second quarter, prices paid to farmers fell an average of 1.1% compared with the previous three months and increased by just 0.6% from one year earlier. Significant price drops were noted in the sales of cereals, which fell by 14.9%; potatoes, down 7.8%; olive oil, down 4.9%; and fruit, which has fallen by 3.8%. Farmers fear the gap between input costs and what they earn is widening.