WORLD EU cuts forecast for summer crop yields after extreme heat and drought


EU cuts forecast for summer crop yields after extreme heat and drought


21:36, August 23, 2022

The European Commission has warned that Europe will produce significantly lower amounts of key summer crops such as soybeans and sunflowers this year.

A farmer drives a tractor across a parched field in north-eastern France. /Reuters via CGTN

"The exceptionally hot and/or dry weather conditions in large parts of Europe continue to substantially reduce yield outlooks for EU summer crops," the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) said in its latest report.

However, some winter crops including potatoes and sugar beet are expected to have a better year than average.

"Conversely, these conditions benefited the harvesting of winter crops, which contributed to a slight improvement of the yield forecast for these crops," the report adds.

Low water levels on Germany's River Rhine have disrupted shipping routes. /Reuters via CGTN

The JRC publishes its Monitoring Agricultural Resources (MARS) bulletin every month. It analyses current environmental conditions and forecasts yields for key crops such as maize and soybeans.

Compared to an average of the last five years, the JRC expects farmers in the EU to produce 15 percent less soybeans and 12 percent less sunflowers in 2022. Both crops are used around the world to make vegetable oils, as well as many other products usually found in kitchen cupboards.

In its last report at the end of July, the JRC also warned that "yield outlook for EU summer crops was substantially reduced due to continued hot and dry weather conditions in large parts of Europe."

This summer has seen record-breaking temperatures and severe drought across the continent. Earlier this month, the European Drought Observatory said that more than 60 percent of land in the EU and the UK was under some kind of drought warning or alert.

A grain terminal in the Ukrainian port of Odesa. /Reuters via CGTN

Before this latest warning from the EU, global food markets had already been under intense pressure due to the conflict in Ukraine. The country, known as the "breadbasket of Europe," is a major producer of maize and cooking oil.

With fighting breaking out across southern Ukraine, grain shipments had been stuck in silos and ports for months. Under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Türkiye, though, ships are now sailing from Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea.

In a speech over the weekend, Türkiye's defense minister said that 27 vessels carrying grain have left Ukrainian ports since the start of August.

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