Wednesday, May 15

Spain pleads for EU disaster funds as drought hits farmers

MADRID — Spain is requesting emergency funds from the European Union to help farmers and ranchers amid excessive drought circumstances in its agricultural heartlands, Agriculture Minister Luis Planas mentioned Tuesday.

Planas wrote to the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, on Monday to plead for assist for Spain’s 890,000 farm staff, together with from the bloc’s agricultural disaster reserve and unused rural growth funds, he mentioned.

“There is drought, there are high temperatures, but they are much more accentuated in the case of the Iberian Peninsula,” Planas added following a cupboard assembly, describing the discharge pressing monetary help as of “the utmost importance.”

Spain already acquired $70 million final 12 months from the EU Common Agricultural Policy’s disaster reserve to deal with the elevated price of uncooked supplies linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however 5 consecutive years of drought in some areas have worsened an already tough state of affairs.

Currently, 27% of Spanish territory is assessed as in drought “emergency” or “alert,” in keeping with the Ecological Transition ministry, and water reserves are at 50% of capability nationally. In Spain’s most necessary agricultural area, Andalusia, the state of affairs is way worse. The Guadalquivir river basin is at 24.8% of its capability, and farmers within the area have had their water allowance for irrigation lower by as much as 90% in some circumstances.

Spain is the world’s greatest exporter of olive oil, and an necessary producer of vegatables and fruits. The drought has already pushed up Spanish olive oil costs to file ranges.

The agriculture minister mentioned he had additionally requested the EU to offer the next advance fee forward of the following season, and urged “flexibility” in assembly the strict necessities of the bloc’s agricultural coverage. The authorities additionally introduced a 1.8-billion-euro tax lower for affected farmers.

To make issues worse, Spain’s state climate company has predicted temperatures will rise throughout the Mediterranean nation in direction of the top of the week, and can peak nearer to the July common than these anticipated for late April.

Last 12 months was Spain’s sixth driest – and the most well liked since information started in 1961. Some farmers is not going to sow seeds in any respect for some crops this 12 months, figuring out the vegetation will merely shrivel within the fields. Eduardo Vera Canuto, a rice farmer in Isla Mayor, in southern Seville province, mentioned the state of affairs was “alarming.”

“We are not going to be able to sow rice. We have had five seasons, and this would be the sixth, with many difficulties. Last year we only sowed 30% of the land, because of the water we are entitled to,” he mentioned.

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