(ANSA) - Rome, July 30 - As much as 500 million euros worth of agricultural production in Italy is threatened by scorching heat, while floods in other parts of the world are damaging crops, a major agriculture organization warned Monday. The upshot is that food shortages worldwide could dramatically threaten availability in some of the poorest countries, warns Italian farmers' association Coldiretti. And prices will be driven up everywhere, it adds. In the United States, facing its worst drought in more than 50 years, agricultural losses are estimated to hit 12 billion euros, and the harvest of cereals has fallen in Russia and Ukraine because of floods. Prices on the Chicago commodity exchange are showing a 50% jump in the price of corn and wheat; and a 30% rise for soybeans, due to the shortages caused by hot weather. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has also forecast that this year, production of cereal grains will fall by 23 million tonnes, and corn production will be 25 million tonnes below previous averages This shows that the importance of domestic food production can't be underestimated, says Coldiretti. The global scenario confirms "that Italy will defend its agricultural heritage and its availability of fertile land," Coldiretti adds. Already about half of the country's food is imported, including soybeans (80%), wheat (50%) and maize (20%).