Climate change continue to create serious problems for agriculture: floods, frost and snowstorms in early 2015 have caused significant damage to agricultural producers in Turkey; as a result, the industry expects another year with low yields; California enters its fourth year of drought and the almond is coming under attack, accused of being a major culprit in the overuse of water. A lot of fruit and vegetable growers in many provinces of Turkey have suffered severe losses as a result of the recent floods and frost. Analysts and sector representatives said a combination of frost and floods would lead important hikes in affected produce while exports will also be hampered by falling production.

In the recent report “World Markets and Trade” USDA said that global almond output to ease 5% this season to 1 million tonnes mainly as a result of lower production in the US itself. Research by Stanford University points to climate change as a key driver in California’s historic drought level. It is not a question of whether California has ever before had droughts. The question of this research was how climate change impacts the severity of weather events like droughts. The findings were that “… extreme atmospheric high pressure in this region – which is strongly linked to unusually low precipitation in California – is much more likely to occur today than prior to the human emission of greenhouse gases that began during the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s.”

That is the immediate challenge facing California. January 2015 was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. This is not a recent weather event: NASA data shows that California’s water storage capacity — in the form of its lakes, snow levels, water table etc. — has been in decline since 2002. “In California, the price buyers are paying for almonds has risen almost 20% since last summer,” says Paul Ewing of independent almond processor RPAC. “That contrasts to about a 50-percent cumulative increase in price over the same period that European importers have been paying due to the stronger US dollar.”

From the announcement of February by the Bureau of Reclamation that California farmers will receive no federal water via the Central Valley Project (CVP), some growers are hoping to produce as many almonds as possible this year. Others would be happy just to keep their trees alive.