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Algeria’s cereal harvest set to fall due to drought

Drought Emergency Alert_2

Grain importer Algeria expects its cereal production for 2020 to fall 35-40% from last year’s 5 million tonnes because of drought, the head of its farmers’ union told Reuters.

Algeria has in recent years harvested the bulk of its needs for durum wheat and barley while depending on imports of soft wheat, in large part from France.

“Output will drop by 35-40% due to drought,” the farmers’ union chief Mohamed Alioui said. “Drought has hit all provinces in the east and west, mainly those known for high production.”

Movement restrictions linked to the global pandemic contributed to production falling across the country, forcing farmers to revise down expectations, he said.

Lower output means the government will continue to turn to international markets to supply its 45 million people, he said.

Algeria spends around $1.3 billion annually on cereal imports, and wheat, considered a strategic crop, is subsidised.

The harvest is coming to an end in the southern provinces and will start in the north in the next few days, continuing until the end of August.

“We are disappointed. But we hope there will be abundant rain next season,” said farmer Ali Bakali as he visited his two-hectare wheat farm.

Drought hit most crops with farmers waiting for the government to make good on promises to improve irrigation systems.

“We have no other solutions but to find the solutions that allow us to cope with the drought and its impact on agriculture,” Agriculture Minister Abdelhamid Hamdani said last month as reported by state media. Only about 600,000 hectares of the 1.4 million that are irrigated are planted with cereals.

The government said it will offer incentives, including removing some administrative procedures, for farmers to grow cereals.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Sunday called for a “revolution” in the production of grains and seeds, urging his government to increase durum wheat output and cut soft wheat imports by adopting modern methods and involving more agronomic engineers.

Courtesy of brecorder.com

https://tinyurl.com/3pvechuk

California faces worst drought in decades: ‘Economic disaster’

Drought Emergency Alert_2

After two consecutive dry years, the California drought is back.

How bad is it?

“This is the worst drought since 1977,” said Ernest Conant, the federal Bureau of Reclamation’s California regional director.

California melon farmer Joe Del Bosque called it “an economic disaster.”

“We can’t plant crops, we have no jobs, and there will be no food coming from this field this year,” he said.

Pictures and numbers tell the story. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 93% of California and the Southwest are in an extreme or exceptional drought, meaning mandatory cutbacks are not far away.

Two years ago, the figure was 3%. By the end of August, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration expects a persistent drought to extend to 13 Western states. Drought is a measure of precipitation, temperature, soil moisture and available water.

“I can see how bad it’s getting,” said Sean Black of Utah. “Just from the lakes that we’ve been going to and the stories that we’ve seen about how the low water level is. And for the shortage we have of snow. I know it’s going to be a tough year.”

More than 90% of Utah is suffering from drought. Nevada is worse at 95%, the worst in two decades. In neighboring California, there are mandatory cutbacks coming in Santa Clara County, no campfires or grilling in Lake Tahoe and officials near the Oregon border warned they could lose 88% of young Chinook salmon because of low stream levels and rising water temperatures.

In an effort to protect wildlife and protect water supplies for drinking, federal and state officials reduced water deliveries to farmers to near zero. In the Central Valley, fields lie fallow and farmers are dismantling orchards.

Courtesy of news.yahoo.com

https://tinyurl.com/mkm395ck

Indian state estimates $1.4 billion damage from Cyclone

Cyclone Warning Alert

Cyclone Tauktae caused an estimated 100 billion Indian rupees ($1.4 billion) worth of damage in the Indian state of Gujarat after making landfall on May 17, Times of India reported. Agriculture, energy and housing sectors have recorded the highest losses. The cyclone affected states along the west coast of India.

Courtesy of businessinsurance.com

https://tinyurl.com/4wxe43t9

Major Drought Disaster Areas Named in 17 More Counties in Nebraska, USA

Drought Emergency Alert_2

More than a dozen Nebraska counties have been designated as disaster areas because of drought.

Over the past week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued disaster declarations for 17 counties, mostly in northeast and western Nebraska, the two areas where drought conditions have been the worst.

The counties designated as primary natural disaster areas were: Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Deuel, Dundy, Garden, Hitchcock, Keith, Kimball, Madison, Morrill, Pierce, Perkins, Platte, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan and Wayne.

Lincoln saw one of its coldest Octobers ever

They join Colfax, Cuming, Dawes, Dodge, Stanton and Thurston counties, which were declared as disaster areas last month.

Counties with a disaster declaration are eligible for emergency loans for losses caused by drought, which can be used for purposes such as paying to replace equipment or livestock or refinancing debts.

That eligibility also extends to more than two dozen counties that are contiguous to the counties with disaster declarations.

6 Nebraska counties named disaster areas because of drought

Nebraska is seeing its worst drought conditions since 2013. As of Thursday, nearly 86% of the state was in some level of drought, with 12% — all in the Panhandle — in extreme drought.

Both severe and extreme drought can lead to lowered crop yields, scarce hay supplies and serious declines in groundwater levels.

The one thing the dry weather has helped with is harvest. As of Monday, the soybean harvest was essentially done in the state, while about 86% of corn had been harvested. That’s well ahead of the five-year average.

Drought tightens grip on Nebraska as hot, dry spell looms.

Courtesy of norfolkdailynews.com

https://tinyurl.com/y5wnab8v

Locusts Swarms Invade Warsheikh and Surrounding Areas in Somalia

Locust Alert

Locust swarms have invaded Warsheikh and surrounding areas in the Middle Shabelle region, residents told Radio Dalsan.

The swarms have also invaded farmlands in Bakaaroole, Shiiqyaale, Ruunsheegow and the neighbouring regions and were spreading fast.

Locals said it was the first time the locusts arrived in the area, though they previously had its presence in other parts of the country.

This comes days after locusts swarms destroyed farms Balcad and other Middle Shabelle towns.

Courtesy of allafrica.com

https://tinyurl.com/y6rz6px6

Worst locust outbreak in 25 years in Ethiopia

Locust Alert

At the end of a tough farming season, Ethiopian farmer Leila Mohammed was looking ready to harvest her millet crop with a sense of pride.

As she was drafting plans and calculating profits, she saw gigantic swarms of locusts like a cloud approaching the fields. All her efforts of waving a piece of cloth to beating steel plates to drive the swarm away failed. Within minutes all the hard labor of months and money she had invested to grow crops were ruined by little monsters.

Residing in Somali province, 50 kilometers (31 miles), north of the regional capital Jijjiga, Mohammed with his six children is looking at a bleak future and starving days ahead.

“They have destroyed my crop. I do not know what to do. We have lost food and battle against desert locusts,” she told Anadolu Agency.

She recalls that it was like a giant tornado flying high in the sky. Then they lost heights, starting descending and devastated crops.

The region has seen a second such attack from insects last weekend during the current farming season.

“Just last week, this area was sprayed with chemicals and the swarms got paralyzed. But look at them, they have come again to destroy whatever little had been left,” said Siba Aden Mohammed, a local official serving at Awbare district of Fafen zone.

While moving around, telling devastation is visible. Farms, where crops like millet, wheat, and chickpea were standing tall and awaiting harvest are empty, with farmers cursing their luck in desperation.

A vast blanket of dark brown winged insects has covered huge tracts of farmlands. As farmers try to remove them, they fly but soon return to sap the last grain of crop left in the field.

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), since January, swarms of desert locusts have damaged over 200,000 hectares of cropland in Ethiopia affecting the food security of millions of people.

Courtesy of aa.com.tr

https://tinyurl.com/y25qz9wc

Floods, landslides affect 3.6M people in E. Africa

Disaster Alert

At least 3.6 million people were affected by floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains across East Africa since June, the UN humanitarian agency said in a report Saturday.

“Water levels of several lakes in Kenya and Uganda are rising, impacting thousands of people,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

Some 856,000 people were affected by floods in South Sudan since June, including roughly 400,000 who have been displaced, it said.

The floods compounded an already difficult situation for people across the region, many of whom were already faced with conflict, violence, the desert locusts and COVID-19.

In South Sudan’s Jonglei area, which witnessed devastating violence earlier this year, was among the areas which were badly hit by floods.

According to the report, about 1.1 million people in Ethiopia have been affected by floods, with more than 313,000 of them were displaced.

Meanwhile, in Kenya, the water levels of several Rift Valley lakes, especially Baringo and Naivasha “are historically high,” following the highest seasonal rains which pounded the area from October to December 2019, the UN agency said.

The area also received above-average rains in 2020, displacing thousands of people and impacting livelihoods, schools and health facilities, according to the UN.

Courtesy of aa.com.tr

https://tinyurl.com/y479gwzz

Wildfires and droughts devastate South American biodiversities

Wild Fire Alert

Under stress from a historic drought, large swathes of forest and wetlands in central South America known for their exceptional biodiversity have been ravaged by devastating fires.

Experts on Friday said wildfires in a region that spans Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, especially the region between the Paraguay, Parana and Uruguay rivers, have become critical in 2020.

“There has been a dramatic increase in fires. In Argentina there has been an increase of around 170 percent, it’s very serious,” said Elisabeth Mohle, an environmental politics researcher at Argentina’s San Martin National University (UNSM).

She says it’s part of a wider problem affecting multiple regions around the world this year, including in Brazil’s Amazonas state, Australia, California, and the Gran Chaco, South America’s second largest forest after the Amazon.

The Pantanal, the world’s largest wetlands that span Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, is experiencing its worst drought in 47 years.

The Parana river, one of the most powerful on the planet that originates in Brazil and empties into the River Plate estuary, is at its lowest level since 1970.

In August it was down to 80-centimetres in Rosario, eastern Argentina, rather than the usual 3-4 meters for that time of year.

It’s the same thing with the Paraguay river that is at its lowest level “in half a century,” according to Paraguay’s national weather center in Asuncion.

The fires are being fanned by ideal conditions, including strong winds, temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius and the dry season in which farmers use slash-and-burn techniques to try to regenerate the soil.

In Paraguay, “the fires … at the end of September and first week of October, broke all records,” Eduardo Mingo, a top official at the national weather center, told AFP.

The number of fires were up 46 percent in 2020, according to authorities.

Paraguay’s capital Asuncion and several towns in northeastern Argentina and southern Brazil spent days and even weeks submerged under a thick fog due to the intense fires.

And without the usual rainfall that moistens the soil, the wetlands have been particularly badly affected.

Images from the Brazilian Pantanal of the charred carcases of birds, snakes, caimans and trees have shocked the world.

A quarter of the area was devastated between January and September, while the Paraguayan Pantanal had already been badly affected by fires in 2019.

The Parana Delta that is home to species such as the jaguar, Pampas cat and several rodents, has been hit by fires of an unprecedented intensity since January, leaving a “desert of ashes” over tens of thousands of hectares of wetlands.

“Reptiles, migratory birds, small mammals and tortoises have died,” Cesar Massi, a naturalist in Argentina’s Santa Fe province, told AFP.

“I remember that during the last drought in 2008, there were fires. But this year they’ve been stronger, more intense and lasted longer.”

Agriculture is a massive source of income for the countries in this region but the slash-and-burn techniques used aggravate the situation.

In the north of Argentina “despite Covid-19 restrictions, between March 15 and September 30… twice the area of Buenos Aires was deforested,” according to Greenpeace.

The Mighty Earth NGO says that Paraguay’s dry forests are “one of the main sites of deforestation in the world, mostly due to the expansion of pastureland and more recently soyabean plantations.”

Argentina’s government has accused cattle farmers of setting fires to “increase pastureland area” in the Parana Delta.

One problem is that NGOs don’t have the necessary funding from governments to enforce rules and instigate large restoration or protection projects.

“The provincial government has less and less of a budget for prevention, there are no surveillance posts, the environmental police have been disassembled,” Alfredo Leytes, a member of the Ambiente en Lucha environmental collective based in Cordoba, Argentina, told AFP.

In Brazil “there has been a 58 percent decrease in ‘Brigadistas’ contracts,” said Alica Thuault from the Centro de Vida institute, referring to the volunteers that mobilized to tackle fires. She attributes blame firmly at the feet of President Jair Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic.

Mohle wants different players, including farmers and ecologists, to work together “to regulate the use of land to ensure a more sustainable development than currently exists.”

Courtesy of trtworld.com

https://tinyurl.com/y5hqfr3b

Flood death toll rises to 18 in Cambodia as over 25,000 evacuated

Severe Flood Warning

Flash floods in Cambodia have so far left 18 people dead and forced the evacuation of 25,192 people, Seak Vichet, a spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), said on Friday.

Tropical storm-triggered rains caused floods in 19 of the kingdom’s 25 cities and provinces since the beginning of the month, he said, adding that 212,676 people have also been affected by the floods.

“By Friday morning, the floods have killed 18 people, including eight children,” Vichet told Xinhua, adding that the worst-hit provinces included Pursat, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, and Kandal as well as southwestern suburb of Phnom Penh.

The floods have also inundated 51,133 houses and 204,650 hectares of rice and other crops, the spokesman said. So far, 12,958 hectares of the affected rice and other crops have been destroyed.

Transportation has also been disrupted, as several major roads in the worst-hit provinces have been closed.

Water Resources and Meteorology Minister Lim Keanhor said on Thursday that further rain, wind and high waves are expected on Oct. 17-19 because the kingdom is suffering from the impact of tropical storm Saudel, which could lead to further flooding.

“People living in plains, along waterways and near mountains, fishermen and sea travelers should be extra-vigilant to avoid any possible dangers,” he said in a press statement.

Floods usually hit Cambodia between August and October. Last year, flash floods claimed 30 lives and storms killed eight people and injured 131 others, according to the NCDM.

Courtesy of xinhuanet.com

https://tinyurl.com/yxl3nvj7

Hailstorm ruins crops in the Riverina, Australia #Hailstorm #Crops #Riverina #Australia

Hail Alert

RIVERINA crops have been battered to the ground following a hail storm.

Wheat, canola and barely, that were showing promise of bumper yields, were not spared in the storm that swept through the region near Junee.

Tony Clough farms at “Windermere,” and “Brendon” and witnessed first-hand a storm that delivered a devastating blow.

He said 40mm of rain fell in quick succession and the hail that came with it bashed crops to the ground.

“It looks like I put 1000 wethers on the paddock and grazed it,” he said.

“There are two paddocks with nothing left,” Mr Clough explained.

He said wheat and canola was affected and to some extent barley was damaged to.

“We got absolutely smashed over a period of 20 minutes,” he said.

While the property “Brendon” was affected by the storm damage crops at “Windermere” largely escaped the storm which was estimated to come through in a strip spanning around two kilometres.

The damage has arrived at a time when crops in the region were looking fantastic due to good falls of rain.

NSW Farmers Wagga and district branch chairman Alan Brown said he had heard of large areas of crops being damaged by hail.

Mr Brown is also a crop insurance consultant. “The severity is high,” he said.

In addition to the Junee area Mr Brown said there were reports of damage coming in from Barellan and Weethalle as well.

“The damage is certainly there,” he said.

“And this is living proof as to why you should always insure for these events … it is sad for people who have been hit hard,” he said.

Mr Brown said the hail had come at the worst time because of the maturity of crops.

He said a storm like that meant there was nothing left.

The severity of losses in this area was expected to come to light in the next week or so as more people inspected crops.

Courtesy of therural.com.au

https://tinyurl.com/y6r5q224