The Association of Young Farmers and Ranchers in Catalonia (JARC) has called on the Spanish government for more funds to help olive growers impacted by Storm Filomena in January.
According to the association, the historic blizzard damaged 46,000 hectares of olive groves in three provinces across the autonomous community. Some olive growers lost as little as 20 percent of their fruits, while others lost as much as 80 percent.
Overall, JARC estimated that it will take producers between two and three years to fully recover from the damage caused by Filomena.
Olive growers in the autonomous communities of Madrid and Castille-La Mancha also reported extensive damage to their olive groves from the winter storm.
JARC said the original damage estimates calculated by the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda (DACC), which was used by the national insurance agency, Agroseguro, to make payments to farmers, was done prematurely.
The association is now calling on the DACC to return and make a new assessment of the damaged groves in Leida, Terres de l’Ebre and Tarragona, and send these new calculations to Agroseguro.
“The farmers after the pruning found a higher impact and a job of pruning much higher than in other years to remove all the branches broken by the weight of the snow,” said Lluís Gaya, the head of the olive sector at JARC, adding that the sector was still grateful for the payments already received from Agroseguro.
“These were not only the ones that were removed with the pruning but they have been found, even later,” Gaya concluded. “They were branches that looked in good condition, but were broken, and now with the weight of the olives, they have given way or will do so before harvest.”