The rain is not falling on the plain

Low levels of rainfall on the plains in central Greece’s Thessaly region so far this year are causing headaches among farmers as the country braces for a heat wave this week with no sign of rain in sight. State-controlled ATEbank said yesterday that despite nine successive interest rate hikes by the European Central Bank (ECB), it has kept the cost of working capital offered to farmers at an unchanged rate of 3.75 percent, in support of the sector. The real increase in interest rates on loans granted to farmers in 2007 did not exceed 1 percent, in comparison with the previous year, the bank added.