Almost 250,000 hectares of crops in Romania have been hit by a monthslong drought, the agriculture ministry said.
Romania is the European Union’s top corn exporter, the second-biggest shipper of sunflower seed. It’s also a major wheat and barley supplier.
A total of 243,000 hectares, in 30 of Romania’s 41 counties, were suffering from a dryness threatening the harvest, officials said Monday.
Some 133,460 hectares is wheat and triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye ) crop. Barley, oats and rye crops, rapeseed, corn (about 40,000 ha), soybeans, sunflower (15,100 ha) and crops for animal fodder have all been hit by the drought.
The counties which are affected by the drought are: Arad, Bihor, Hunedoara, Sălaj and Timis in western Romania, Alba, Brasov, Prahova, Dambovita, Giurgiu, Olt, Teleorman, Ilfov, in central and southern Romania, Bacău, Brăila, Buzău, Călăraşi, Constanţa, Galati and Vrancea in eastern Romania, and Iaşi, Maramureş, Neamţ, Satu Mare, Suceava, , Vaslui, Vâlcea and Vrancea and Botoşani in northern Romania.
Last month, the agriculture minister Petre Daea said it may export much less corn and sunflowers this season as it prioritizes local supplies.
Romania exported 4.3 million tons of corn last season.
At the beginning of 2022, maize production was estimated at about 14 million tonnes, but in the meantime, farmers have revised the figure down to about eight million tonnes.
Another problem is the drop in water levels, at a time when the Danube is almost half the multiannual average for this time of year and other rivers have dried up.
More than 200 towns and villages in Romania have introduced restrictions on water use, according to the Romanian Waters National Administration.