Low French Rainfall Adds New Cloud To Global Food Market

Low French rainfall adds new cloud to global food market

SullysurLoire, France, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 12th May, 2022 ) :French farmer Robin Lachaux is worried about his wheat. In normal years, it flowers and bulks up in May thanks to regular spring rainfall, but this year hot and dry conditions risk stunting its progress.

"If we don't water it today, we'll lose 50 percent of our output," the young farmer in an orange cap and sweatshirt from Sully-sur-Loire in central France told AFP.

"We wouldn't normally water at this time of the year but the dry periods are coming earlier and earlier," he added as he positioned his pressure hoses and irrigation equipment.

France is Europe's agricultural powerhouse, the biggest grain producer in the 27-country bloc and the world's fourth or fifth biggest wheat exporter.

Its annual production influences global prices which are already at record levels because the war in Ukraine looks set to wipe out a chunk of the country's production, leading to fears of a global hunger crisis.

On Monday, the French agricultural ministry warned about the impact of an unseasonably hot and dry stretch which "will have an impact on cereal production" in France following lower-than-average rainfall over the winter period.

As well as wheat, other crops sown in winter such as barley are in a key development stage in May, while corn and sunflower production over the summer could also be hit.

"There's not a region that's not affected," the head of French farmers' union FNSEA, Christiane Lambert, told AFP.

"Each day that passes, we're seeing the ground cracking more... if it carries on like this, those that can irrigate will be okay, but the others will have dramatic decreases in production."The French national weather service said the country was in the grip of a hot spell that is "notable for its timing, its duration and its geographical spread", with a 20-percent drop in rainfall between September 2021 and April 2022.