Orange producers in the Algarve have criticised the government’s lack of initiative to fight the threats that could destroy the region’s orange production sector. It is mainly the ongoing drought that is at the top of the list of most serious issues threatening the sector’s survival.
Bertina Alexandra, agronomy technician for the Algarve’s orange producer association AlgarOrange: “If something isn’t done urgently, it will be too late. If it doesn’t rain until the end of the year, reservoirs won’t last long and supplying water to the population will always be the priority.”
According to the association, the issue could be fixed by pumping water from the Guadiana River to the Eastern Algarve dams. It would be a project that “would not take long to complete” compared to the “five or six years it would take to build a new dam”.
There are two other major threats: the common fruit fly, which accounts for huge losses, as well as citrus greening, one of the most serious citrus plant diseases in the world, which has yet to be detected in Europe but “could spell ruin for the whole citrus production sector”.