After two and a half months of persistent rain, low temperatures and a lack of sunshine, growers in the Spanish region of Valencia are beginning to realize the extent of the damage caused to the majority of their crops.
According to a study carried out by the Asociación Valenciana de Agricultores (AVA-ASAJA), the losses should amount to 150 million euros. The affected area covers a total of 120,000 hectares.
Citrus fruits, in particular oranges and tangerines, would be the most affected: around 80 million euros, over an area of 50,000 hectares.
Due to a decline in market value, hundreds of tons of unharvested citrus ended up falling to the ground or rotting on the tree. Excess moisture has caused rotting which will also reduce future harvests.
Citrus growers, like others, have been forced to accept the extra costs that will be spent minimizing the pests and diseases that can proliferate due to a combination of humidity and high temperatures.
Almonds from Valencia were the second most affected crop, with an estimate of 18 million euros damage value. The cold spell in early April caused severe frosts on 30,000 hectares. In hundreds of fields, all crops were completely destroyed, leading to a 70% drop in production.
Additionally, stone fruit production (including peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums and cherries) is at an all-time low, at only 60% of its production potential. Devastating rains coincided with flowering and fruit germination, destroying 10,000 hectares and causing losses of 16.5 million euros.
Other crops affected by the unfavorable weather conditions include persimmons, vegetables, rice, as well as vines and olive trees, which lost 12 million euros, 11 million euros, 1.8 million euros respectively. euros and 0.7 million euros.
In addition, €10 million in damage to agricultural infrastructure, such as walls, roads and irrigation systems, was also caused by heavy rains. Loose soil near rivers and ravines has caused major blockages in pipes used for irrigation.
AVA-ASAJA expressed the need for direct aid and fiscal measures from national, local and independent administrations, to alleviate the difficult situation in which Valencian farmers find themselves.