Drought hits 15 pct of Romanian sown arable area

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This year’s drought has hit 1.043 million hectares of crops, accounting for some 15 percent of the sown arable area of 7.23 million hectares, a counsellor at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Rural Development told Agerpre s on Friday.
‘To this area add another 141,000 hectares hit by the late spring freezing temperatures, hailstones and floods, which means the farming area affected this year totals 1.191 million hectares,’ Daniel Botanoiu said.
Out of more than one million hectares hit by the drought, around 311,000 hectares have been 50 percent destroyed, while the remaining 732,000 hectares have been harmed less than 50 percent.
‘The oilseed rape crop has had to suffer most from the drought, namely some 35 percent of the area. Potatoes have been affected on 32 percent of the area, while grain such as wheat and barley on 19 percent.
The other crops such as sunflower, soy, maize have been hurt no more than 10 percent’, the ministry official explained.
The national weather forecaster has already announced Romania would see scorching temperatures of 38-40 degrees Celsius this summer; there will also be drought, but it will be less severe than in 2007.
The crops obtained by Romania in autumn 2007 were deemed the lowest on record in the last century and they were compared to the crops of 1946-1947, when the drought was as bad as the one 2 years ago. The damages sustained by the Romanian agriculture in 2007 due to the drought were put at 5.39 billion lei, with more than 65 percent of the sown area (5.787 million hectares) having been affected in various degrees.
According to the National Commission on Projections, the 2007 drought inflicted 388 million euros worth of damages to the Romanian state, which represents 0.4 percent of the gross domestic product.
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