Drought Lowers Yields of Main Agricultural Crops

Total Croatia News

High temperatures and lack of rain are causing a catastrophe in Croatia’s agricultural regions.

Extremely high temperatures affecting Croatia have already started destroying the most important autumn crops – corn, soy and sugar beet, reports Večernji List on 6 August 2017.

Experts say that, if high temperatures were to continue and significant rains do not start soon, corn yields could be lowered by more than 30 percent. Ernest Nad, head of the Agriculture Department of the County Chamber in Osijek says that on some micro-locations, damages will be higher than those in 2012 when yields were lower by more than 30 percent.

“We can see that droughts have become a regular occurrence, which is why it is necessary to change production technologies, plant different crops, insure crops and develop irrigation systems,” says Matija Brlošić, president of the Croatian Agricultural Chamber.

He and Nad call on local self-government units to declare the official state of natural disaster since that is a prerequisite for farmers to apply for the so-called Measure 5 from the Rural Development Programme. The public call has already been issued, but only those farmers whose damages are above the 30 percent threshold can send their applications.

Weather conditions characterised by insufficient precipitation combined with extremely high temperatures have an adverse effect on the growth and development of sugar beet. “Although the lack of winter moisture, which is important for the beet, and the total amount of rainfall were expected to cause more damage, this has not happened so far since beet was planted during an optimal early period, thus creating deeper roots and enabling the plants to draw more moisture from the soil,” says Ivo Rešić, CEO of a sugar factory from Županja.

The amount of moisture in the soil and the weather forecast suggest that this August, which is a crucial period for yield formation, could cause damages and substantially reduce the expected yield. The amount of precipitation among various regions is very different, but the largest lack of rain has been recorded in the eastern part of the Županja area, where the precipitation there was negligible.

“Some of the agricultural producers have insured their crops against the drought. Therefore, we are now waiting for the drought index to be calculated so that producers could cover damages from their insurance companies,” says Rešić.

The Ministry of Agriculture states that the Law on Protection from Natural Disasters stipulates that the State Commission for Assessment of Natural Disaster Damages should organise and conduct a procedure for assessing these damages. But, funds appropriated in the state budget for this purpose are quite small – just 40 million kuna for the whole country and all natural disasters during the year.

In order to minimise damages to their crops, farmers can also insure them. Also, as part of the “Crop, animal and plant insurance” programme, the government provides grants to help users co-finance part of the insurance premiums for crops, animals and plants. The user must have a valid insurance policy for the agricultural production in the period for which the claim is made. The insurance policy covers just damages caused by the loss of agricultural output of more than 30 percent of the average annual production. The maximum aid share is 65 percent of the premium paid, and the amount of funding per user during the course of one calendar year cannot be higher than 75,000 euros.

For 2016, 2,359 users applied for the incentives, with the total requested grant amount of 31.4 million kunas.

Translated from Večernji List.


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