The Valencian farmers union (La Unió) has forecast a disastrous olive harvest for the region, with an average decrease of 75 percent compared to the previous year.
Estimates vary by province, from a 68 percent drop in Alicante to an 85 percent drop in Castellón.
Production losses alone are predicted to cost the autonomous community €70 million. Growers in the province of Valencia are expected to lose a total of €25 million, those in Castellón €22.6 million, and in Alicante €21.9 million. In addition, very few olive farmers in the region carry insurance for their crops.See Also:2022 Harvest Updates
As has been the case in many Mediterranean olive-growing regions, a series of unseasonal meteorological events have combined to affect Valencia’s groves severely.
Spring was characterized by extreme variations in weather, including flooding, hailstorms and both abnormally high and abnormally low temperatures which caused humidity and frost, respectively.
These, in turn, led to mass fungal infestation resulting in widespread defoliation; and severely delayed or inhibited flower and fruit development.
Due to the severe economic impact such high production losses would have, the union has called on the major agricultural insurer Agroseguro and the regional Ministry of Agriculture to offer financial incentives and subsidies to olive growers across the Valencian Community to increase insurance coverage against such an eventuality.
The organization has already proposed that the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), due to enter into force in January 2023, include an additional €100 in aid per hectare for all rain-fed crops, including olive groves, to encourage more sustainable cultivation practices with lower environmental impact.
They draw attention to the fact that in addition to the direct environmental damage they cause, high-density (intensive) farming methods are making traditional groves less competitive, thereby putting their future at risk.