German farmers step up call for $1.6b in aid after drought damage

German farmers are calling for urgent assistance amid a prolonged heatwave and drought that have left huge swathes of parched fields and stunted crops, particularly in the country's north-east region.
Drought-hit corn crops (above) in Dortmund, western Germany, on Monday.
Drought-hit corn crops (above) in Dortmund, western Germany, on Monday.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

HAMBURG • German farmers intensified calls for around €1 billion (S$1.6 billion) in special aid yesterday after crop damage from a drought and heatwave, but Berlin said it would wait for an August harvest report before making a decision.

German farming association DBV president Joachim Rukwied said that drought has caused €1.4 million worth of damage to grain crops alone this year.

Poor growing weather, including a heatwave and lack of rain, has damaged crops in France, Germany and the Baltic Sea countries, while shortage of animal feed is also looming after damage to corn crops and grass.

"Expensive animal feed will have to be purchased," Mr Rukwied told German TV channel ZDF.

However, Germany's Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner said on German television that a clearer view of the national picture was needed and the government would await her ministry's own harvest report in late August. "Then we will have a real overview of the situation in Germany," she said, adding that regional state governments could provide local aid if needed.

Poor growing weather, including a heatwave and lack of rain, has damaged crops in France, Germany and the Baltic Sea countries, while shortage of animal feed is also looming after damage to corn crops and grass.

Mr Till Backhaus, the farm minister in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, called on the government to declare a state of emergency for farmers, saying a decision later this month would not be fast enough.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2018, with the headline 'German farmers step up call for $1.6b in aid after drought damage'. Print Edition | Subscribe