Drought hits 1.1 million hectares in Romania, risking stress on grain supplies-agriculture minister

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Romania’s crops are shriveling under a drought that has gone on for months, with some 1.1 million hectares affected by the prolonged lack of rain, the agriculture minister said.

Regions in eastern Romania where wheat and maize are grown are the worst hit by the lack of rain.

“Everyone who has losses due to the drought will get compensation,” Agriculture Minister Adrian Oros told national news agency, Agerpres. “Unfortunately, out of the 2.9 million hectares where wheat, barely, cereals and rapeseed have been planted,” crops in one million hectares are affected by at least 50% he said.

Oros has said that Romania’s harvest will be half its usual volume this year due to the drought and it is unlikely it will be able to export cereals this year.

 Romania is the second-biggest wheat shipper in the European Union and a major cereals exporter to the Middle East, with Egypt a key market.  It also sells to Jordan and South Korea.

Constanta county which borders the Black Sea is the most arid region, with 416,000 hectares are affected, followed by Tulcea to the north where the drought has spread over 129,000 hectares.

The grain-growing county of Ialomita in the southeast has 123,000 hectares affected by drought, and Braila, which is next to Tulcea has 97,000 hectares of arable land blighted by drought

Buzau and Galati, also in the east have 135,00 hectares together.

Just 221,000 hectares of crops are irrigated, Oros said.

The National Meteorological Administration says moderate and extreme drought will affect wheat and maize crops in Dobrogea, eastern Romania, Muntenia in southern Romania, Banat in southwest Romania and Transylvania and Crisana in western and northwestern Romania.

The northern Moldova region is also hit by the dry spell. In eastern Moldova, in Maramures and in Oltenia, there are sufficient moisture levels for crops.

The forecast said moisture deficits would cause some plants to shrivel, and leaves to turn yellow or dry out, damaging the autumn harvest.


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