Farmers warn of severe drought conditions

ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES: Rain is desperately needed soon Photo credit: Wikimedia

YOUNG FARMERS from the ASAJA in Alicante have warned of the consequences of the months of drought conditions and the current short term weather forecast.

They have pointed out that they can no longer irrigate their crops and depend on enough rainfall over the next few weeks to avoid “major crop loss and the consequent economic effects”.  Much of the problem has been caused by the closure of the Tajo Segura aqueduct in May and with the almost zero prospect of it being reactivated due to the supplying reservoirs being below the minimum transferable, the conditions have reached serious levels.

The farmers have reached a dangerous crossroads that on this occasion, and with severe drought conditions going well into the third year, precipitation is the only answer.

“If it doesn’t rain in the next few days, 21,000 hectares of citrus plants and almost 8,000 hectares of general horticulture will be in danger and lead to issues in the food chain and the agricultural industry not only in the Alicante province but across south east Spain.”  They added that the current harvests were only possible due to the unseasonal rains of August and September.

The president of the ASAJA, Eladio Aniote, said: “We are very worried because we have crops already planted and they and we are at the mercy of the weather to be able to move forward.  Our only salvation is that it’s started raining in the southeast of the country and filling up some of the reservoirs that might allow the transfers to be reactivated as soon as possible.

“We have about a month to save the good quality oranges and lemons and mandarins that are sold throughout Spain and Europe where our main markets are.  Artichokes, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes and lettuces are in danger of being thrown on to rubbish tips if they cannot be saved.”

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