`Drought and Heat Cause Concern for Farmers Across Spain - Olive Oil Times

Drought and Heat Cause Concern for Farmers Across Spain

Feb. 23, 2022
Ephantus Mukundi

Recent News

The agri­cul­tural sec­tor in Spain is in dire straits and risks incur­ring huge losses due to extreme heat and a lack of rain­fall, warned Agrosegur, an agri­cul­tural insur­ance asso­ci­a­tion.

It is still too early to esti­mate the losses the sec­tor might incur since it may rain in the com­ing weeks, which would reduce the dam­age to crops.

Most regions of south­ern Spain and some parts in the north, includ­ing Catalonia, are feel­ing the effect of the pro­longed drought. Agrosegur said the sec­tor is likely to lose up to €210 mil­lion unless rains come soon.

See Also:Climate Change Is Making Droughts More Frequent and Severe

According to AEMET, Spain’s mete­o­ro­log­i­cal agency, January 2022 was the dri­est since 1961 and had the high­est recorded tem­per­a­tures. On aver­age, the coun­try was 2.1 ºC hot­ter than usual.

AEMET said the sec­ond dri­est January expe­ri­enced in this cen­tury was in 2005. The national weather office added that farm­ers would need emer­gency sub­si­dies if rain does not come in the next two weeks.


In Castilla-La Mancha, the sit­u­a­tion is wor­ry­ing, and crops will likely be ruined entirely unless it rains in the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, in Extremadura, cereal and veg­etable crops strug­gle as the Guadiana Hydrographic Confederation lim­its irri­ga­tion due to reser­voirs’ low water lev­els.

Andalusia, the world’s largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing region by a wide mar­gin, is one of the hard­est-hit regions in Spain.

Winter did not come with suf­fi­cient rains, which are crit­i­cal for olive tree bud­ding and flow­er­ing. To make mat­ters worse, Guadalquivir, the most vital river in Andalusia, is at 28 per­cent of its capac­ity.

According to the Association of Young Farmers and Ranchers in Catalonia (JARC), in some parts of north­ern Spain, farm­ers have lost about 30 per­cent of their crops to pro­longed dry spells and con­tinue to lose 10 per­cent every week rain does not fall. Moreover, if rains do not come soon, JARC esti­mated that farm­ers would lose €300 to €400 per hectare.

The Coordinator of Agriculture and Livestock Organizations (COAG), the lead­ing asso­ci­a­tion of farm­ers and ranch­ers in Spain, said that about 50 per­cent of farms in the coun­try are star­ing at finan­cial ruin due to drought this year.

If things do not change and enough rain does not arrive soon, within weeks, crops that rely on rain such as olives, cere­als and vine­yards will reg­is­ter losses between 60 per­cent and 80 per­cent.

In south­ern Almería, Andrés Góngora, a 46-year-old tomato farmer, is a wor­ried man. He expects water from a desali­na­tion plant upon which he relies for irri­ga­tion to start being rationed.

The past two, three years have been dry, with the ten­dency toward less and less rain,” he said. The cereal crops for this year have been lost.”



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