President Vladimir Voronin said on July 21 that Moldova intends to call for international assistance to cope with the effects of a severe drought. Some 80 percent of Moldova's farmland has been affected by three dry months. This follows a relatively dry autumn and winter.
The president predicted that humanitarian supplies of grain will be needed, called for a modernization of the country's Soviet-era irrigation system, asked parliament to lift VAT and import tariffs on cereal crops and promised strict control over the prices of bread.
The Agriculture Ministry says losses already exceed $80 million, and experts quoted by the news agency IPN on July 23 predicted a "catastrophic" harvest.