The Heat Is Online

Drought Decimates Croatian Crops

Drought decimates Croatia crops, disaster declared, May 6, 2003

ZAGREB - Drought has decimated crops in Croatia's bread basket region of Slavonia and a state of natural disaster was declared, the state news agency Hina reported yesterday.

The fertile Vukovar-Srijem county declared itself to be in a state of natural disaster after damage to crops - mostly sugar beet, barley and oats - was estimated at around 51 million Croatian kuna ($7.55 million).

Some sixty percent of the 8,000 hectares under sugar beet have been laid to waste by the lack of rain this year, the news agency said.

The agriculture ministry has said it has not been formally notified and can not yet take any measures.

The Vukovar-Srijem county, together with the neighbouring Osijek county, lies on a plain with highly fertile soil which Croatia shares with Hungary and Serbia, and which accounts for more than two-thirds of Croatia's agricultural output.

The Osijek county said it would probably also declare a state of natural disaster some time this week, Hina said.

Hot and dry weather in the forthcoming days, as forecast by the state weather institute, is likely to continue damaging crops in eastern Croatia.


Croatia says drought causes $215 million crop damage, May 15, 2003

ZAGREB - Damage to crops, caused by weeks of heat and drought in Croatia, is estimated at 1.4 billion kuna ($215 million), Agriculture Minister Bozidar Pankretic said.

A state of natural disaster has been declared in 10 counties in eastern and northern Croatia in May. Croatia has 21 counties.

"First estimates put the damage caused by drought at 1.4 billion kuna and the ministry will propose measures to the government to help farmers overcome the disaster," a local news agency quoted Pankretic as saying at a news conference.

Sugar beet, wheat, barley, oats, rye, corn, soybean and sunflower are among the worst affected crops.

"In this situation we will propose to the government to relieve the farmers from certain financial obligations and we will ask the finance ministry to cover 30 percent of damages incurred by the drought," Pankretic said.

Prime Minister Ivica Racan and several ministers included in a recently formed crisis group plan to visit the affected, normally fertile region of eastern Croatia yesterday before a cabinet session later in the week to discuss damage limitation measures.

The state budget this year envisaged just 20 million kuna for natural disaster relief. Possible light rain at the end of the week, as forecast by the weather institute, is not likely to be enough to improve the farmers' situation.