Drought brings pain to farmers in southeast Europe

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Drought brings pain to farmers in southeast Europe

Drought brings pain to farmers in southeast Europe
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The severe drought that has hit southeastern Europe has destroyed crops and devastated farmland.

The hot, dry weather has piled pressure on world grain markets already reeling from drought damage in the US.

In Romania fields of maize, wheat and sunflower have dried up beyond use and animal farming is near impossible.

Farmers are hit hard by the water shortage and see little hope of an improvement.

“We are in big trouble. If the government doesn’t give us any help or a grant like in other Western countries like France or Germany, we don’t know if we’ll be able to afford to continue the seeding cycle in the autumn,” said one farmer.

In the Balkans there is anger at what is seen as a failure to invest in a long-term farming strategy.

The cost of the heatwave in countries like Bosnia and Serbia that rely heavily on agriculture runs into hundreds of millions of euros.

In the Slovenian capital Llubljana, a market vendor named Jozica said: “There are fewer buyers in heat like this. Some are still on holiday… There’s less of everything because of the drought. We’ll probably make a quarter of what we earned before.”

The Italian authorities say the heatwave has now been affecting the peninsula for three months.

Forest fires have been raging, with the Campania region around Naples worst hit. Temperatures have hit 40 degrees in several towns. A 57-year-old woman died smothered in smoke.

Recent hot weather cycles have been appropriately called “Caligula” and “Lucifer”. The next weather front named “Beatrice” is due to bring violent storms and cooler temperatures next weekend.