Weather threatens to ruin Lithuanian farmers

  • 2005-08-17
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - The heavy rains that inundated large areas of Lithuanian farmland last week caused severe damage to crops, and many farmers fear they may become bankrupt, agricultural officials were quoted as saying.

"The downpour may drive farmers into bankruptcy because many of them have promised to pay for fertilizers and chemicals after they sell their products in the autumn. Many people have taken loans from banks to buy equipment. They may be unable to pay them back," said Valentinas Grazulis, senior specialist at the Agricultural Department in the town of Vilkaviskis, told the Verslo Zinios business daily.

"The work of almost the whole year was destroyed in 36 hours," he said of last week's downpours.

"The grain crops were ripe for harvesting, but now large areas of them have been beaten down [by rain]," he said.

Specialists forecast that, even if weather conditions improve, no more than half of the grain crops will be harvested and that most of them will be of low quality.

Farmers in the Vilkaviskis district, for instance, did not insure their crops since insurance premiums are too expensive, the paper reported, and for some farmers would equal 30 percent of their profits.