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BUDAPEST: Hungary has harvested 3.9 million tonnes of autumn wheat and 1.4 million tonnes of barley as the harvest season ended earlier than usual due to this year’s heat and drought, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement on Friday.

The ministry said crop yields lagged previous years’ averages due to a severe drought, adding that the country’s maize and sunflower crop was also “at serious risk”.

The ministry estimates that farmers are going to report drought damage on up to one million hectares. The government was setting up a task force “in order to tackle the consequences of the historic drought,” the statement said.

The total amount of wheat harvested in Hungary was about 25% less than the average yield in the past five years, the ministry said. Last year the country harvested 5.3 million tonnes of wheat, data from the Central Statistical Office (KSH) showed.

Hungary harvested 450,000 tonnes of rapeseed, the ministry said, also well below about 722,000 tonnes last year. The damage to the grains crop comes at a time when the country is struggling with food inflation running at 22% in annul terms in June.

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