August 4, 2003, from Yahoo News, (AFP): In
France, livestock and cereal farmers are finding their
livelihood threatened by the drought now officially
declared across more than half the country.
With 54 out of 98 departments restricting water usage,
the government has stepped in to allow cattle and sheep
to graze on land that is kept fallow under European
Union rules and to subsidize the transport of feed from
In France -- but also in the Czech Republic, Germany,
Italy, Serbia, Spain and other countries -- farmers
were predicting a drastic fall in cereal and milk yields.
The price of chicken has gone up by more than 35 percent
in Spain, as a result of the heat which soared to more
than 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and
has killed more than a million birds and led to dramatic
weight loss in the rest, the French newspaper Liberation
Meteorologists said the heat wave was caused by an anti-cyclone
firmly anchored over the western European land mass,
which is holding back the rain-bearing depressions which
in normal years make inroads into the continent from
the Atlantic Ocean.
On the positive side, dairy farmers are happy as ice
cream sales are soaring; and wine growers say the low
rainfall bodes well for a high-quality vintage.
For the complete story: http://asia.news.yahoo.com/030804/afp/030804130925top.html