PARIS, France, 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 less-affected areas.
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
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