(ANSA) - Rome, September 7 - Italian farmers are experiencing an increase in crop theft as a result of the recession, the Italian Farmers' Confederation CIA said on Friday. There are now 150 recorded incidents of theft every day, up from 80-90 in the period 1999-2010. The phenomenon now involves grapes as well as chickens, tractors and copper and the risk is greatest at harvest time. Agricultural theft has an annual cost of 4.5 billion euros, 1.5 billion more than is lost to shoplifting every year, CIA said. "Security is an issue of major concern particularly for isolated farms that are especially exposed to daily threats," said Confederation President Giuseppe Politi. "For this reason we are calling for greater surveillance in rural areas, which have always been less protected than cities, in order not to leave farmers on their own".