We are in mid April and a couple of days ago you could still find snow in many places in Europe. I come from Poland where we are quite familiar with snow, but mid April is already a period of the year where you can easily plan to spend at least some weekends outside. Well 2013 seems to be a year without a spring as they say in England. In Germany they say that it was the winter of the century. My Mum says that she cannot remember her bottom being cold for so long. Everybody has an opinion about this situation. As for me, I would like to focus on its effects on agriculture.
This year will be definitely one of the worst agricultural years in Northern Europe that it encountered in decades. John Vidal from Guardian wrote: “The British livestock industry is in crisis with tens of thousands of cattle and sheep having died in the cold. Cereal farmers have not recovered from last year’s deluges and winter crops and vegetables lie rotting in sodden, frozen, or snowbound fields.” Actually for the first time in a decade Great Britain will become a net importer of wheat. Britain could be forced to boost imports by more than 1million tones. The ruined harvest has cost England over ₤500 million!! In addition to that, all the seeds that have been planted until now may be damaged so the future harvest will also be affected.
Poland has a very similar situation, even though the farmers there are more accustomed to severe conditions. Because of the winter that has held on until mid April some of the farmers haven’t even planted the seeds. The polish Parliament Member Jan Ardanowski said that Poland may be flooded with foreign produce, especially those from southern Europe. There is also going to be a lot of vegetables that can be planted later, e.g. corn. “Polish people will be really unhappy with all these imported vegetables and fruits, because they love their national products.” This bad weather condition will also affect prices within the country. There is going to be less harvest, so the price of work per unit will be higher.
Unfortunately this year our planet will have big influence on the world food prices. According to FAO world food prices have grown by 30% since 2000 and are forecasted to grow by 30% by 2025. This year’s weather conditions affected the decrease in food supply, therefore the price growth. We have to remember that there are many reasons for food prices growth and one of them is food waste. By wasting food, we are indirectly decreasing the supply, which will eventually lead to food prices growth.
1. How the government could end this long winter at a stroke? – Guardian UK