Bashkiria farmers counting losses from drought

The republic’s agriculturists have lost most grain harvest

Anomalously hot summer caused problems not only for Tatarstan agriculturists but also farmers of neighbouring republics. So drought wreaked havoc on Bashkiria’s agriculture. If the hot and dry weather probably just was uncomfortable for citizens, for farmers, it turned out to be trouble. This led to a fall in the harvest. Residents of the republic are seriously concerned about the rise in prices for foodstuffs. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

Hard time for all agriculturists

Farmer from Yanaul District Valentin Solomennikov told Realnoe Vremya that the summer indeed turned out tough, however, a smartly arranged work allowed minimising losses.

“Indeed, this summer was tough for all farmers, literally. Our household has also lost harvest because of the drought. Still, I think we managed to minimise the damage. We pay a lot of attention to keeping humidity in the soil in spring. Here it is necessary to choose the right time to start to cultivate the soil, not to be late. And the fight against weeds because they take away a lot of humidity is another key method to combat drought.”

Growing grains is a tough and at times unpredictable process, the farmer thinks, because the weather is not within human’s control.

“We have recently finished sowing winter crops. As autumn was dry, we met a series of conditions: 3,504 million units per hectare, 4-5 cm of optimal depth. Of course, we still it will start raining soon. However, weathermen’s forecasts aren’t comforting at the moment, especially for southern districts of Bashkortostan. Rains are not expected there earlier than September.”

Aydar Bikbulatov’s household was less lucky. Zilair District is located in suffered from the drought and wildfires more. The total area of wheat, oat and barley is more than 500 hectares.

“It rained more or less heavily last time in the middle of July. If not for the rain, the harvest would be worse. The Zilair River dried up. There was nowhere to get water for watering,” the farmer complains.

Bikbulatov thinks that a development land reclamation could change the situation. However, such an idea is still an investment project. Head of Bashkortostan Rady Khabirov announced its start in 2022.

“624 households on an area of 616,000 ha suffered”

Now farmers are counting losses. Aydar thinks that produce can go up in price due to such losses. The farmer believes that not only bread but also seeds will become expensive next year:

“By preliminary estimates, 624 households on an area of 616,000 ha suffered from the drought. Also, harvest on 332,000 ha died.”

Meanwhile, the current weather conditions of the year facilitated the acceleration in phonological phases in cultures. So harvesting started 2-2,5 weeks ahead of the average data for many years. Khaybullino, Zilair, Baymak Districts suffered the most,” Realnoe Vremya was told by vice head of the Department for Investor and Foreign Affairs in the Ministry of Agriculture of Bashkortostan Almaz Galimov.

At the same time, the representative of the ministry assures that there is no bad forecast for grain harvest because 90% of the areas have been reaped, the total amount of grains is expected to be about 2,1 million tonnes. However, the Ministry of Agriculture of Bashkortostan also notes that the unceasing heat has a negative impact on sugar beet and maize.

News about the declaration of emergency because of the drought concern not only farmers. Comments of residents of the republic who are worried about the possible rise in prices are appearing on social media.

“We are waiting for prices for bread, flour and so on to rise. Bread prices are already rising. It means, prices for meat will increase too if grain in the Republic of Bashkortostan is used for fodder,” believes citizen of Tuymazy Rishar Mukhamadeyev.

Almaz Galimov calms people down: “At the moment there is no sudden rise in prices for grains, they are approximately at last year’s level. The price of flour and grain doesn’t really influence the price of bread as it might seem.”

Emergency across Bashkortostan

The drought caused many problems for farmers that became one of the key topics for discussion at weekly meetings in the government of Bashkortostan.

“This year’s scorching summer made significant amendments to our original plans. We started sowing 16-18 days earlier than usual, but agriculturists suffered from significant damage due to high temperatures. If in the air the temperature was 40°C, the temperature on the surface of the soil reached 70°C,” said Vice Premier and Minister of Agriculture of the republic Ilshat Fazkhrakhmanov. “We already declared an emergency in the region on the territory of 41 municipalities. Now we are preparing to declare an emergency across Bashkortostan.”

Later, Governor of Bashkiria Rady Khabirov supported agriculturists too: “It is summer, harvest time. 1 million 727,000 tonnes of grains have been reaped in the fields of the republic. Unfortunately, the yield is below our plans because of the drought. But our farmers are working hard, more than 90% of grain and bean fields have been harvested in eight municipalities of Bashkortostan, spring grains and beans have been harvested in Ilish District. Alsheyevsk (94,5%), Davlekan (94,4%), Tuymazy (94,2%), Miyaki (94,1%), Buray (93,5%), Sterlibash (93,4%), Karmaskaly (90%) Districts are among leaders in harvest pace.”

According to him, Karmaskaly (0,25 t/ha), Aurgazy (0,246 t/ha), Chekmagush (0,22 t/ha), Sterlitamak (0,186 t/ha) Districts are leaders in grain harvest. Rapeseed, mustard and flax started to be harvested.

The head of Bashkortostan named the equipment of households as one of the key factors of success in harvest and sowing. This season, agriculturists prepared 3,900 harvesters. The fleet of harvesters has increased by 230 pieces in the last three years. Due to this, the load per harvester has reduced to 430 ha across the republic.

This year, Bashkir agriculturists bought 142 harvesters, another 100 are going to be purchased. “Many of them used the support measures we created for entrepreneurs of Bashkortostan. We will keep supporting our agriculturists,” Khabirov promised.

Nevertheless, the drought has already hurt the sector. It will be clear soon if prices for foodstuffs will rise following the air temperature. If Bashkiria residents’ fears are true, the summer will be tough not only for agriculture workers.

Emil Ziyangirov

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