Slovak growers yield smaller crops; Prime Minister blames Climate Change

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Slovak growers yield smaller crops; Prime Minister blames Climate Change

12. 07. 2017 15:24

Slovak farmers estimate this year's cereal harvest to be around 2.5 million tons, which is approximately 20 percent less than last year. However, according to Milan Semančík, President of the Slovak Agricultural and Food Chamber, last year's crop yield was record-breaking, therefore comparing the figures is not appropriate. Slovak cereal consumption is some 1.5 million tons, and thus a million will be available for export.

Semančík informed Prime Minister Robert Fico and Minister of Agriculture Gabriela Matečná during a visit to a cooperative farm in Dražovce that this year's harvest had begun 10-14 days earlier than usual. He added that, in addition to lower yields, long-lasting dry weather has resulted in a worsened quality of grain.

The Agriculture Ministry via its National Agricultural and Food Centre has submitted a national project to the Education, Science, Research and Sport Ministry that deals with climate change and its impact on agriculture. "The project also includes solutions, such as support for creating new types of drought-resistant crops and support for hydrotechnical improvement," said Minister of Agriculture Gabriela Matečná.

Prime Minister Robert Fico pointed to Earth's changing climate causing unpredictable crop yields. "I don't get how anyone can claim that there's no climate change when there is a change, and quite a brutal one at that. What used to be cultivated in western and southern Slovakia is now being grown in the north. Water levels are decreasing, and ground water is falling as well," said Fico.

Fruit growers are prompting the rise of an emergency fund to help farmers survive Climate Change-related crop failures, following recent devastating frost, droughts, or other natural disasters for which insurance will not cover. At their meeting with the Minister of Agriculture Gabriela Matečná near Piešťany on the same day, the President of the Slovak Union of Fruit Growers Marián Varga said this. According to Matečná, the department wants to outline such a fund later this year.

Gavin Shoebridge, Photo: SITA

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