Desperate farmers are using candles to save their dying crops which were hit by cold April weather.


Farmers in Zurich and Basel are looking to any and all means to keep their crops alive after low temperatures and frost hit Switzerland over the past month, with temperatures especially plummeting in the last few days.


The workers have since turned to candles and fleecy blankets to cover their goods as they desperately try to stop their fare from turning into total losses.


Horticultural fleeces and frost candles have already been almost completely sold out in the area over recent days, said Ferdi Hodel - the president of the Zurich Farmers Association who added that all farmers in the area have been blighted by the harsh weather.


He pointed out that the most difficult phase is before and after the blossoming explaining that "fruit and vegetable crops are the most in danger."


His colleague, Heinz Hoenenstein - co-president of the Association of Organic Farmers of Zurich and Schaffhausen and a farmer himself - reported that his strawberry fields are already blooming and if the current cold trend continues he could lose everything for this upcoming summer.


He said another fruit at high risk right now are the famous Basel cherries. Due to their sensitivity they need 200 candles per hectare (2.5 acres) in order to be warm enough. In the region more than 5,400 candles have been sold.


And it is not expected to get any better in the coming days.


Weather forecasters have predicted over the weekend that temperatures in the country are expected to continue to drop to around minus 2 degrees Celsius in the coming days.


Andreas Haas, who is the President of the Farmers Association of Basel, said he has already accepted he has lost his green asparagus for the year and said he is expecting "more damage" to the rest of his fruit and vegetables in the coming weeks.


But there is hope for local winemakers - as the weather has made the vines sprout well with them currently measuring 5 to 6 centimetres (1.96 to 2.36 inches).


Urs Jauslin, a renowned winemaker and vice-president of the wine producers of the Basel region is optimistic that it will be a good crop despite the cold, and said the situation was similar last year "but there was no frost damage".

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Author: Iva Buchkovska

Iva Buchkovska
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