Europe: The price of food has increased in Europe and Belgium due to severe inflation, but now they are also being pushed up further because of the extreme heat hitting the continent.
The farmers see their harvests getting smaller as well as the quality of produce reducing because of the persistent drought.
Certain crops are burned by the sun, while others, such as cauliflowers and carrots, lack the amount of moisture required to fulfil their growth. West Flanders is facing the most drought, but similar issues are worrying farmers all over the whole of Belgium, as per the reports.
Along with this, the driest month in Belgium since 1885 was July 2022, standing at only 5 millimetres of rain. The heatwaves and extreme weather events are having an effect on the food supply, as farmers’ union Boerenbond reports that the harvests of onions, maize, beets and potatoes are similar to expected.
Farmer and chairman of the General Farmers Syndicate, Danny Metsu, confirms that farmers are dealing with severe issues. Metsu said that 70 to 80 percent of the region’s bean crops would be lost due to the drought, while a loss of some 20% is expected for sprouts.
The kohlrabi crops have failed almost entirely. “The species with the lowest number of growing days are massively affected,” Metsu said. “We’re just watching it happen.”
Moreover, farmers all over the continent are also being badly affected, as Italy experienced its driest spring in 70 years as well as experienced estimated damage of €1 billion, according to the local farmers’ union. Spain expects to produce one-third fewer olives, and this year the Netherlands saw its onion harvest halved.
The international struggle means it is not easy for Belgium to compensate for failed harvest by importing more.
“We can expect food prices to rise further,” stated agricultural and food economist Xavier Gellynck, though it is difficult to determine the exact consequences as the majority of farmers have long-term contracts with supermarkets and processors, meaning they cannot negotiate rates until the following year.