Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

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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 help for Spain’s 890,000 farm employees, together with from the bloc’s agricultural disaster reserve and unused rural improvement funds, he mentioned.

“There’s drought, there are excessive temperatures, however they’re much extra accentuated within the case of the Iberian Peninsula,” Planas added following a cupboard assembly, describing the discharge pressing monetary help as of “the utmost significance.”

Spain already obtained 64.5 million euros ($70 million) final yr from the EU Frequent Agricultural Coverage’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 troublesome scenario.

At the moment, 27% of Spanish territory is classed as in drought “emergency” or “alert,” in line with the Ecological Transition ministry, and water reserves are at 50% of capability nationally. In Spain’s most vital agricultural area, Andalusia, the scenario 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 largest exporter of olive oil, and an vital producer of vegetables and fruit. The drought has already pushed up Spanish olive oil costs to document ranges.

The agriculture minister mentioned he had additionally requested the EU to supply a better advance fee forward of the following season, and urged “flexibility” in assembly the strict necessities of the bloc’s agricultural coverage. The federal government 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.

Final yr was Spain’s sixth driest — and the most popular since information started in 1961. Some farmers won’t sow seeds in any respect for some crops this yr, realizing the crops will merely shrivel within the fields. Eduardo Vera Canuto, a rice farmer in Isla Mayor, in southern Seville province, mentioned the scenario was “alarming.”

“We aren’t going to have the ability to sow rice. We’ve had 5 seasons, and this is able to be the sixth, with many difficulties. Final yr we solely sowed 30% of the land, due to the water we’re entitled to,” he mentioned.

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