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Warnings of food prices increases due to European drought

Warnings of food prices increases due to European drought
By Mark Armstrong
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A European-wide drought is devastating harvests leading to warnings about possible food price increases


Fields turning to dust, rivers drying up and deadly wildfires ravaging the landscape - it is all part of summer 2018 across Europe and much of the northern hemisphere.

An unrelenting heatwave has devastated crops, with more than half of the harvest expected to be lost in some areas.

Some arable farmers are facing bankruptcy; states of emergency have been declared in Latvia and Lithuania, while the sun continues to bake Swedish fields that have received only 12 percent of their normal rainfall.

Germany, which is the EU's number two grain producer after France, is expecting a 20 percent slump in its harvest.

"The heat is affecting natural products like wheat and potatoes," explained Robert Halver, Head of Capital Markets Analysis at Baader Bank, "the harvest is getting worse and worse. That means chips are getting more expensive and that has a knock-on effect. We're going to see an acceleration of price inflation of these field crops."

For livestock farmers in the UK, the lack of rain means animals cannot just be put out to pasture as usual. They are having to break into Winter food rations, supplementing feed with silage, pushing up costs, which will presumably be passed on to the consumer.

For others in Denmark, it means sending expensive animals off to slaughter earlier than planned and at a lighter weight than normal.

Farmers are united in calling for government help in the short term but if hot summers are to become the norm, a more strategic long-term plan will be vital.

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