Spain and Portugal Request European Aid to Fight Ongoing Drought

The European agriculture commissioner responded that both countries must use national strategic plans to address climatic issues.
By Ephantus Mukundi
Mar. 2, 2022 09:04 UTC

The Spanish and Portuguese gov­ern­ments have asked the European Commission to take mea­sures to help farm­ers on the Iberian Peninsula cope with the ongo­ing and severe drought.

Luis Planas, the Spanish min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture, fish­eries and food, requested more money from the Europe Commission’s stop­gap agri­cul­tural bud­get to help farm­ers com­bat the drought and more flex­i­bil­ity for using fal­low land.

Make the most of the CAP’s strate­gic plans to face the chal­lenges of low rain­fall so that farm­ers are pro­tected from pos­si­ble weather event.- Janus Wojciechowski, European Agriculture Commissioner

The stop­gap bud­get funds Europe’s agri­cul­tural sec­tor until the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) comes into force at the begin­ning of 2023.

Spain and Portugal have been expe­ri­enc­ing a dras­tic decrease in rain­fall over the last three decades. A severe drought that started late last year has grad­u­ally wors­ened deplet­ing water reser­voirs to record lows.

See Also:Andalusian Officials Criticize Loss of Funding for Farmers in Proposed Ag. Policy

Last month, Spain’s national mete­o­ro­log­i­cal agency said January 2022 was the dri­est January for almost 20 years, with Andalusia, Catalonia and Extremadura being the worst-hit regions.

In Portugal, 34 per­cent of the coun­try is expe­ri­enc­ing severe drought, while 11 per­cent is expe­ri­enc­ing extreme drought.

However, Europe’s agri­cul­ture com­mis­sioner told both coun­tries instead to take advan­tage of the abil­ity to form their own national strate­gic plans under the incom­ing CAP to help them deal with cli­matic chal­lenges.

Make the most of the CAP’s strate­gic plans to face the chal­lenges of low rain­fall so that farm­ers are pro­tected from pos­si­ble weather events,” Janus Wojciechowski said.

He added that all European coun­tries would need to put long-term mea­sures in place as cli­mate change will make water scarcity and droughts more com­mon, espe­cially for coun­tries in the Mediterranean basin.

A week before Planas tabled the request for the two coun­tries, Europe’s com­mis­sioner for gen­der equal­ity expressed con­cerns about the drought sit­u­a­tion in the Iberian Peninsula.

Helena Dalli said that the com­mis­sion was mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion closely via the satel­lite sys­tem and advised the two coun­tries to take advan­tage of avail­able instru­ments to mit­i­gate the drought.

Through the European Regional Development Fund and other CAP instru­ments, Portugal and Spain will be able to help farm­ers affected by cli­matic con­di­tions,” Dalli said.

Climate change will fur­ther aggra­vate water scarcity and the risk of droughts, affect­ing their fre­quency and mag­ni­tude, not only in the Iberian Peninsula but in the other south­ern coun­tries and other parts of the E.U.,” she added.


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