Heavy rains and hail have severely damaged nearly 1,000 acres of olive trees in Arganda del Rey, a small municipality outside of Madrid. Nearly all of the damaged trees belong to small-scale family producers.
The Association of Young Farmers and Ranchers (Asaja) said that olive oil production is estimated to be 90 percent lower this year as a result.
A combination of strong winds, heavy rains and large pieces of hail hit the small town, leaving 998 acres of trees without fruit.
“When we went out we had more than half a meter of hail. Hail moved like iceberg blocks on roads and paths,” Cipriano Guillén, a local olive farmer and delegate of Asaja Madrid, told Agropopular in a radio interview. “We saw that there were some areas, which were totally razed. And all this 48 hours before planning the olive campaign.”
Arganda del Rey is not a large producer of olive oil, so overall production figures for Spain are largely unaffected.
The municipality was already expecting a significantly lower yield, compared with last year, due to many farmers entering an off-year and a lack of rain in the springtime.
“Now there will be absolutely almost nothing,” Guillén said.