Wet weather hits agriculture

Unseasonally heavy rains have taken a heavy toll on crops across the country, causing headaches for farmers and pushing up produce prices.

This content was published on August 7, 2000 minutes

Farmers say five weeks of heavy rain has ruined much of this year's harvest, and made the land difficult to work.

The reduced yields have also driven up crop prices by as much as 30 per cent over last year, with salads, beans, cauliflowers, courgettes worst affected, according to Swiss television.

The president of the vegetable producers' association, Paul Meier, said much of the produce was rotting and diseases were rife.

However Jurg Jordi, spokesman for the federal ministry of agriculture, told swissinfo that “vegetable prices have risen across Europe, and this situation cannot be blamed on the bad weather of the past month alone”.

Over the past week, there have been other warnings of crops failing. On Friday, officials said the bad weather in July was damaging the wheat harvest, and that if it continued much of this year's production would be fit only for consumption by animals.

“Wheat farmers in parts of Switzerland have experienced very bad conditions, but in other areas conditions have been good,” said Jordi. “It’s going to take a couple of weeks before we know the full extent of the situation.”

Neil Anker, director of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce for Agriculture, pointed out that “in some mountainous regions they still have some wheat left to harvest, and in these cases there is a risk of the ripe grain germinating” thereby ruining the crop.

However, he also said that overall “we had quite a good spring and we are happy with the quality of the crops so far”.

by Tom O’Brien

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