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Climate change

Heat wave destroys vegetable crop; warning of things to come from climate change

Wednesday, August 02, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: climate change, vegetable crops, food supply


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(NewsTarget) Europe's uncharacteristically hot summer may be causing more than sunburns, as the Association of European Fruit and Vegetable Processing Industries (EFVPI) warns that the heat is maturing produce faster than it can be harvested, which could lead to shortages.

Farmers tend to plant crops in such a manner that different produce is available at different times of the year; but that is not an option this year, as the heat is maturing crops so fast it's sending produce growers rushing to gather their harvests as fast as possible.

The spoilage from the heat wave is expected to cause a shortage that will have a direct impact on economies, particularly in east Europe. The EFVPI predicted Poland and Hungary would produce 40 percent lower yields than normal in some crops, and the heat has also added to concerns about forest fires destroying crops in Central Europe.

If the predictions are correct, the Processed Vegetable Growers' Association said European produce consumers could expect higher prices.

British grocery giant Sainsbury's says it does not foresee any shortages in its own shelves. A spokeswoman noted that although the season for greens was drawing to a close, but produce such as carrots and potatoes were still ample in supply.

"This is a bit of a storm in a vegetable basket and we do not envisage any shortage," she said.

Despite its policy of obtaining food from the UK whenever possible, Sainsbury's is known to import vegetables from abroad, which may protect its stock from the heat wave's effects.

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