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article imageDrought across northern and central Europe worst in recent memory

By Karen Graham     Jul 27, 2018 in World
Farmers across northern and central Europe are facing crop failure and bankruptcy as one of the most intense regional droughts in recent memory strengthens its grip.
Since late spring and on into the start of summer, many areas of northern Europe have been experiencing very dry and exceptionally hot temperatures. The prolonged heat and lack of precipitation are now putting harvests at risk.
The intense heat has caused the drought scenario to worsen. Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland, Poland, the British Isles and the Baltic Republics are experiencing some of the most extreme conditions, reports the Weather Network. And there is no relief in sight.
To make matters worse, the dry weather has also been accompanied by gusting winds - creating conditions conducive to the spread of wildfires. Europeans have already been dealing with wildfires that have swept through Sweden and more recently, Greece, where many people have lost their lives and complete communities have been destroyed.
Situation of Combined Drought Indicator in Europe
Situation of Combined Drought Indicator in Europe
EDO
German agricultural sector already hurting
The drought in some regions has gotten so bad that farmers are not harvesting their crops this year because the conditions have left them unmarketable, according to Bloomberg.
Germany appears to be one of the worst-hit countries. Germany is the sixth-largest potato producer in the world. In 2013 the country produced more than nine million pounds of potatoes. However, on Tuesday, a German trade group raised the alarm over a potential potato shortage in the coming months.
Gizmodo is reporting the German Association of the Fruit, Vegetable, and Potato Processing Industry BOGK announced it expects fewer and lower-quality potatoes this season and a 25 percent loss in revenue across the agricultural and potato-processing industries.
“Due to increasing dryness and heat, the individual potato plants are increasingly under stress and stop the growth of the plant,” the association wrote. “Irrigation—if it is even possible or permitted—is of little use in this situation, according to experts from the potato producers.”
Agriculture across Europe
The Swedish Farmers Association estimated that if rain doesn't fall soon, its members could lose eight billion Swedish kronor and many could go bankrupt.
"This is really serious," Swedish Farmers Association co-chair Lennart Nilsson told the Guardian. "Most of south-west Sweden hasn't had rain since the first days of May. A very early harvest has started but yields seem to be the lowest for 25 years—50 percent lower, or more in some cases – and it is causing severe losses."
The current drought in Poland is worse than in the previous dry periods of 2006 and 2015  Prime Mini...
The current drought in Poland is worse than in the previous dry periods of 2006 and 2015, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says
JANEK SKARZYNSKI, AFP
In its July Analytical Report, the European Drought Observatory (EDO) found there was "a high deficit in soil moisture in Scandinavia, Latvia, The Netherlands, northern Germany, Scotland and most of Ireland and an even stronger deficit complete with vegetation stress in western Belarus, western Poland and parts of the Czech Republic."
And looming like an elephant in the middle of a crowded living room is climate change. We know it's there but issues like drought, wildfires, loss of crops and even loss of lives and livelihoods are taking precedence. The European Commission is offering some relief for farmers facing the current crisis, including suspending environmental obligations intended to help halt climate change, The Guardian reported.
But people are also being warned that what is happening right now could end up being the new normal. If so, it will require farmers to diversify or change crop types and varieties, according to EcoWatch. This would be one way to ensure food sustainability, and that is very important.
More about Europe, Drought, crop failures, Bankruptcy, Heatwave
 
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