Europe drought kills crops
Thu, 16 Aug 2012 12:36p.m.
By Hayley Platt
Heatwaves in parts of Europe are raising concerns about potential food shortages.
Emil Dinca's farm in Seaca, Romania, would normally be bursting with crops at this time of year.
Instead he says he'll be lucky to salvage 20 percent thanks to soaring temperatures and drought.
"We will probably lose much of our wheat, barley, corn and sunflower crops. We will have to rely on subsidies to keep going," he says.
Romania may not be a major supplier but drought is a global problem.
In some parts of Russia the grain harvests are down by 50 percent
Mexico too is experiencing its worst drought in seven decades with almost 70 percent of the country affected.
And it's the worst drought for 56 years in the US. That pushed last month's corn prices up by 23 percent.
The OECD's Secretary General Angel Gurria says a crisis is looming.
"More people are going to bed hungry because they cannot make ends meet. They cannot buy enough food as they used to yesterday or a month ago before these prices went up, so the issue has to be addressed," she says.
Food inflation is becoming a political issue - G20 leaders are reportedly due to discuss it during a phone conference later this month.
"If there is a very bad crop in a very important producer country there are bound to be increases in prices in general but also can we improve the question of trade by compensating where there are scarcities," says Ms Gurria.
The OECD says a meeting of agriculture ministers may be called before the end of the month.
And food prices are being closely watched in the meantime.
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