Blistering Drought Hits Europe’s Food Production
A swath of Europe is battling soaring temperatures, wildfires and a severe drought, with a new report predicting the parched conditions will shrink crop yields — including in agricultural heavyweight France — at a time when Russia’s blockade of grain from Ukraine is already hurting consumers.
On Tuesday, youngsters took a water break in Paris, where the temperature sizzled at around 37 degrees Celsius.
But elsewhere in France, there is no reprieve from the heat.
Firefighters in the southwestern Gironde area are battling massive blazes that have decimated thousands of hectares of land and covered the wine city of Bordeaux in a blanket of haze.
A European Union report out this week finds nearly half of EU territory risks drought, with France among half a dozen countries most severely affected. The dry weather is stressing nature and expected to dampen food and energy production — two areas where Europe is already feeling the fallout of the war in Ukraine.
The EU’s executive arm expects grain output across the bloc will be 2.5 percent lower than last year — although they’ll still have an export surplus.
Many are bracing for a bigger hit. Climate scientists predict heatwaves and droughts in Europe will be more frequent and intense.
More immediately, one farmer from the Alpes region told French TV he fears water shortages will trigger an irrigation ban in the coming weeks. If that happens, he says, it will be catastrophic for area harvests.