Knowledge for better food systems

European farmers affected by heatwave and dry weather

Farmers in Britain and other European countries have been affected by the ongoing heatwave and dry weather. Oxfordshire farmer Lesley Chandler told the Guardian, “It’s like a tinderbox out here… Just a spark could set it all alight” (read more here). Combine harvesters can create sparks if their blades hit a stone.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) of England and Wales reports that fruit and vegetable growers risk using up their annual water abstraction allowances, while dairy farmers have observed increased animal stress due to the heat. Read more here. The NFU has also issued dry weather advice for farmers, which can be accessed here.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Farmers Association expects many farmers in Sweden to experience financial loss or bankruptcy, as Sweden has received only 12% of its normal rainfall and is suffering many wildfires (read more here). The drought has caused Lithuania to declare a state of emergency, giving farmers more leeway in their contracts with buyers (read more here), while Latvia has declared a nationwide natural disaster, which will mean farmers can avoid penalties linked to EU-funded projects or bank loans (read more here).

Scientists claim that the heatwave has been made more than twice as likely by climate change (read more here).

Read the full story here. See also the Foodsource resource How do the climate and environment directly affect the conditions required for food production?

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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