MADRID – The EU has already warned France, Romania, Spain and Italy about significantly lower crop yields due to extreme drought. Countries such as Germany, Poland, Slovenia and Croatia are also struggling with the consequences of drought. Italy has been hit the hardest so far.
Europe is experiencing one of the driest summers in history. Rainfall shortages and prolonged heat lower the yield expectations of crops. Due to climate change, the number of heat waves is increasing. This is increasingly causing heat stress and water scarcity. In large parts of Europe, the ground has now become bone dry.
EU warned member states about crop yield decline
Italy has been hit the hardest so far. There, extreme drought around the River Po in northern Italy threatens more than a third of agricultural production. The EC has already declared a state of emergency for five regions in northern Italy.
See also: WWF: “Spain sentenced to severe water shortages”
Code red for 10% of the crops
The EU agency JRC conducts research on behalf of the European Commission (EC) into droughts, agriculture and crop development. They indicated in a report from July that almost half of the EU surface is suffering from a shortage of soil water: the breeding ground for crops. More than 10% of the crops have been seriously weakened and are now on ‘code red’, according to the research service of the European Union. In addition, the war in Ukraine has already led to food shortages in several places.
The drought situation in Spain worrying
In the middle of the summer, the situation in Spain is worrying. The water reserves of the reservoirs are at about 30% of their capacity, well below the average of the last ten years. Spokesperson Clare Nullis of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) warned EU countries of the dangers of water shortages and persistent heat. “The dry weather provides ideal conditions for forest fires.”
Global wheat production down
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has revised its forecast for global wheat production downwards. The combination of drought on EU territory and war in Ukraine causes the USDA to forecast a production volume decline of about 2 million tons. While last month’s crop yield was estimated at 773.4 million tons, the USDA now forecasts a crop yield of 771.6 million tons for the harvest year 2022-2023. The expected harvest yield from Ukraine has also been adjusted by the USDA from 21.5 tons to 19.5 million tons.