Spain: Drought causes 165 million Euro loss in Valencia

LA UNIÓ de Llauradors has estimated that the severe drought in Valencia has already caused direct losses in the agricultural sector worth around 165 million Euro (88.8 in the province of Valencia, 40.3 in Alicante and 35.5 in Castellon), according to a report prepared by the agricultural organization; a figure that may actually be significantly higher if it does not rain in the coming weeks.

The impact of drought changes, depending on whether the lands are rainfed or irrigated. In the latter case, the main problem is rising production costs (more water for irrigation, more treatments against pests, additional work for the fruit thinning, etc.). In rainfed areas, the problems are not limited solely to the reduction of the production, which in some cases will exceed 50%, but could also have long-term consequences, such as the death of trees.

Drought causes, among other things, phenological imbalances in most crops, the production of smaller calibres and even a possible loss of trees. It also leads to a higher risk for pests, with the high cost associated in their eradication, the need to increase the frequency of irrigation and the consequent rise in energy costs, as well as a decline in aquifer levels and the salinisation of irrigation wells.

The combination of the absence of rainfall, the high temperatures in recent months and drought have taken a very negative toll on our crops, and this will have a direct impact on the growers' incomes.

Due to their considerable acreage, production volume and economic value, citrus crops are recording the greatest losses, totalling 95 million Euro. This is mostly the result of the increased production costs, the higher frequency of irrigation, the need for more frequent phytosanitary treatments and the need for thinnings to be able to obtain larger calibre fruits.

The production of nuts will also be greatly affected by the impact of drought. Thus, the almond harvest could fall by almost 40% compared to the previous season. The losses recorded by these crops will total 13.6 million Euro.

As regards fruit, including kakis, the impact is similar to that of citrus; i.e., higher costs due to costlier irrigation and phytosanitary treatments. LA UNIÓ has estimated the losses at 3.7 million Euro. The vegetable production will also be affected by increased costs and lower quality.
LA UNIÓ believes that this dramatic and distressing situation requires an effort from both the central and regional governments to compensate for the losses and prevent the abandonment of most farms.

For more information:
Ramón Mampel, General Secretary
LA UNIÓ de Llauradors
Tel.: +34 609 28 29 16

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