A summer like this one has not been remembered in Serbia for five decades. The temperatures close to 40 degrees centigrade holding for days, and the damages in the agrarian field are estimated to alarming one billion euros. The drought has taken three continents, and the chances for successful harvest in Russia and Ukraine are growing worse, while the natural disaster has been declared in 26 United States. Tamara Prodanovic has more in our International Economic Chronicle.
The state of Serbian crops is very bad, as the new heat wave and period without rainfall threaten to inflict even more damage, with consequences that will be felt next year as well. On some fields in Vojvodina, the yield of the corn has been decreased by 70%, soybeans by 80%, and it is not much different with wheat, sugar beet, fruits and vegetables. In western Serbia, the drought has also damaged the crops, especially corn and soybeans. The yield of wheat, fruits and vegetables in the south of the country is almost cut in half, with most impact on the cultures such as potatoes, beans, berries and fruits. In turn, it has also jeopardized the livestock, so the cattle may end up in slaughterhouses prematurely, thus announcing the “explosion” of prices of meat and milk.
In the budget rebalance more money will be earmarked for the insurance of agricultural produce, but the Government is warning that farmers themselves should be insuring their fields from the drought, because it would have mitigated the problems of this kind. As of September, another 63 thousand hectares of arable land will be irrigated in Serbia, with the goal of increasing the surface under irrigation system up to 1.1 million hectares in the next five years.
The hot summer and almost African working conditions have disturbed the life of Serbian citizens. Hundreds of thousands of people who work outdoors are exposed to the risk of heat stroke – miners, farmers, constructions workers and police. The high temperatures and UV radiation have struck the entire region, with the consequences that are in the domain of natural disaster.
With regards to the global grains market, one of the biggest concerns is about the repeated “Russian scenario” from two years ago, when that country stopped exporting its resources for almost a year. So far, some 1.5 million hectares of various agrarian cultures have failed, and the estimation is that the yield will be decreased for 10 million tons. In the USA, world’s biggest grains exporter, the drought has “crippled” almost one third of this year’s crops, so the prices in the stock markets have soared up almost 40%. The farmers in the South America are preparing to sow record amounts of grains and oil plants, which could reduce the shortage of food, caused by the heaviest drought in USA over the past few decades. The UN Organization for food and agriculture warns that the drought has also dramatically endangered the global yield of rice, especially in India, Cambodia, Taiwan and Nepal.