Concerns have been rising in the agricultural sector due to the drought that has lasted for several months now, said Yvan Hayez, general secretary of the Walloon Federation of Agriculture (FWA). "Farmers fear a repetition of 1976."
At the agricultural level, the harvest of spring cereals is poor. The impact should not be too great for bere as opposed to wheat, rapeseed and grains harvested at the end of June and the beginning of July. Plots of maize, beetroot, potatoes and chicory are "spotty", i.e. in some places the plants do not grow and develop.
As for breeding, the first cut of fodder was good, which was not the case with the second, which was "lost". "The animals are grazing but the grass is not growing", says Yvan Hayez. The FWA has alerted the government to take action in favour of the agricultural sector. However, Europe would not be inclined to authorise the harvesting of grasslands for the purpose of recovering fodder for livestock purposes because of existing agricultural measures to conserve biodiversity, Hayez noted.
"It is said that nature has a certain power to recover but even if there is rainfall in July or August, it will be necessary to harvest then, and in the rain it is not so simple. Ideally, a fine, regular rain would be required. In any case, it is only during the harvest that we will be able to estimate the extent of the damage. It is too early to come up with figures at this stage", said the FWA's federal secretary.
The Federation is also calling on its affiliates to solicit communal damage commissions to assess and control crops in order to obtain financial compensation from the disaster fund.
The Brussels Times