Markets & Economy

Spain: Heat wave puts Valencia citrus and table grape harvests at risk

The Valencian Community’s crops and countryside have been severely affected by the extreme heat wave over the last few weeks. 

José Vicente Andreu, President of Asaja signaled that “if the heat continues, farmers will lose between 20 and 30 percent of harvests”. This will make the difficult economic situation that the agricultural sector finds itself in, even worse.

In Alicante, there is a particular concern about table grapes, according to a report by Spanish newspaper NIUS. The fruits are about to be harvested and are at risk of being burnt if they are not protected from the sun. 

“This year, because of the labor shortages, packaging has been very delayed, so the fruits could burn,” said the Valencian Farmers’ Association AVA-ASAJA. In addition, elevated temperatures have caused the seeds to get dehydrated and not grow enough.

The intense heat is also damaging citrus crops in the Valencian Community. When the heat stresses the citrus fruits, they end up falling off the trees.

In Alicante, lemon harvests are being especially affected, with their size being reduced and their peel being left completely wrinkled, thus preventing them from being commercialized. The same is occurring with oranges. 

“Right now, they should be around 55mm in caliber, but the majority are between 30mm and 40mm. This means that the size will not be as big as expected at the time of harvest”, explained Carles Peris, General Secretary of La Unió de Llauradors i Ramaders.

Carles Peris, General Secretary of La Unió de Llauradors i Ramaders insisted that “the elevated temperatures and the lack of water are causing a decrease in the production of crops that are being harvested now and growth impairment in crops that are currently at the development stage.” 

In addition, Peris explained that the heat wave “is generating more diseases which means farmers will have to invest more into electricity and water for irrigation”.

Artichokes, olives and almonds are also being affected by the intense heat.

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