The uncertainty about the water supply for the next garlic season has led some agricultural producers in the province of Cordoba to make a move and look for new growing areas that guarantee access to this resource for the planting of part of their productions this year. Garlic is a product that needs little water, just 3 m³/ha, but it is very demanding. If the plantation does not receive irrigation during the planting, in the middle of the harvest and before harvesting, when the head is formed, the entire production will be ruined.
One of these producers is Antonio Salces, from Montalbán, who has been forced to take part of the production to Ciudad Real. "I will plant 20% in Castile-La Mancha," he says. It is the only way he has found to guarantee the supply of part of next year's crop. Ciudad Real has enough groundwater, while in Cordoba they don't know when or how much they will be able to irrigate.
"The drought situation is forcing the Hydrographic Confederation of the South to reduce the water supply for irrigation from October 31," says Miguel del Pino, vice president of Asaja Cordoba. Now begins a process of meetings and studies "to see how much water there is and for whom it will be," says Miguel.
Garlic on the run
Like Antonio, other Cordovan garlic growers are moving part of their crops, although not only to Ciudad Real. Garlic is also being planted in Antequera or Seville. "Moving involves a number of costs. You need to rent farms, hire crews in the new areas, etc." Antonio reveals that it is a great expense, but they cannot risk losing all the production if they run out of water.
In the municipality of Montalbán, the epicenter of the garlic industry in Córdoba, they hope that employment won't be lost together with the garlic that is moving to these new growing areas, because much of the economy of the area depends on this product. For the time being, Antonio's company is only taking 2 out of every 10 garlics to Castile-La Mancha, but he does not rule out "an increase in this figure." Everything will depend on what happens this year with the campaign in his town of Cordoba.