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Record rain ruins 90 percent of harvest

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14:21 CEST+02:00
Norway will have to import 260,000 tonnes of grain for the first time since the starvation years after World War Two, the country's agriculture minister has said.

“Large amounts of grain have been destroyed as food fit for humans, so this will be dependent on buying grain in a hard-pressed global market,” Food and Agriculture Minister Lars Pedar Brekk said in a statement.

More rain has fallen on Norwegian farmers this year than in all of last year combined, and crops have rotted in great new pools of rainwater. The rain of 2011 followed an extra-dry 2010, and the country’s fields of wheat looked set to have a bumper year.

Instead, wheat strands have been flattened by heavy rain making them impossible to harvest by modern machinery.

In good years, the country meets all the needs of bakers, and farmers in normal years produce three-quarters of what’s needed.

With just 60 percent of grain retrieved and likely destined to be animal feed, the harvest of potatoes, beans, berries and other crops has also been hit with unknown implications for food prices.

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