Amid scorching conditions, farmers in Fukushima Prefecture can do little but watch as their carefully tended crops wither and die.
“I never thought high temperatures would continue for such a long time,” said Kenzo Kikuchi, a chrysanthemum grower whose plants haven’t progressed beyond the bud stage this year.
A rice farmer in Aizubange said water is becoming scarce, causing plants to wither.
The farmer said he tries pumping water from drainage canals near his paddies but that requires buying extra fuel to keep the pumps running, plus additional time and effort.
“Some farmers said even their drainage water has run out. I’m concerned about the quality of our rice,” he said.
Peach growers are echoing those concerns.
In northern Fukushima Prefecture, where the Akatsuki peach brand is the area’s major agricultural product, now is the time for harvest.
But this year’s peaches taste unusually sweet, and each one is substantially smaller — a result of this summer’s intense heat and lack of rain, local farmers say.
Chusaku Anzai, 69, who runs an orchard in Iizaka, said if the drought continues, apples and other fruit stand to be negatively affected as well.
In southern Fukushima, the hot summer is taking its toll on summer vegetables too.
Sadakazu Sato, 53, a senior official from Japan Agricultural Cooperatives’ Aguri Yume Minami, said fewer cucumbers, kidney beans and other seasonal veggies than average are going to market.
The Grand Solar Minimum continues to ramp up the extremes.
In Japan this week: from scorching, prolonged drought to the Earliest Snowfall On Record.
[Featured Photo: FUKUSHIMA MINPO]