Millions face food poverty as northern Europe is hit by worst drought in 35 years
BERNARD Maquis’s cattle would normally be grazing in the lush green pastures of the Limousin region in central France at this time of year. Instead, they are eating hay intended for the winter after months of drought that has turned the fields yellow.
He is wondering whether it might be better to sell his cows at a reduced price rather find himself without fodder by the end of the autumn. “I’m starting to sleep badly,” he said.
Mr Maquis is not alone. With Northern Europe facing its worst drought since 1976, politicians in the West are expecting protests from farmers, consumer discontent and a strain on budgets.
Third World nations are braced for riots as Europe’s heat wave creates a rise in food prices and drives millions deeper into poverty.
“We are in a situation of crisis and of crisis management,” said Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the French Ecology Minister.
Meteorologists say that Northern Europe has had 50 per cent less rain than normal over the past two months, while temperatures have been 4C higher than usual.
In France, water restrictions have been implemented across more than half of the country and the drought is already comparable to 1976, when a heat wave wrecked the annual harvest.
The difference, according to Michele Blanchard, an engineer in the climatology division of Meteo-France, the French weather office, is that “in 1976 the high temperatures came in June, not in April”.
Germany has had twice as many hours of sunshine as it would normally expect in the spring. Some German regions have had just 5 per cent of their standard rainfall. “We desperately need rain,” said Andrea Adams, spokeswoman for the Farmers’ Association in Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.
She said that the wheat was yellow, the sugar beet had barely grown at all and the rye was “curling up and dying”.
(From 2006) “Food will become more valuable than oil. When a 1/3 of the crops or more fail this year from lack of pollination, due to a decline in bees and other beneficial insects, you’re going to hear people proclaiming the end of the world has come. Albert Einstein once said, “If the Bees died off this planet, Mankind would be extinct in 4 years.” He knew the importance of keeping nature in balance. The weather is a SIGN of the natural order being out of balance. It is a domino effect. Bees spawn – but high winds, pesticides, and other miscalculations by Man has altered everything for the worst. We are living on a dying planet. You’ll see that truth unfolding this year in the news media as they start to pay attention to what’s really going on.“