Rains hit drought-struck Valencian countryside

Spain: Rains concern growers in drought-struck Valencia

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Spain: Rains concern growers in drought-struck Valencia

Rains have finally arrived in the Valencian countryside in Spain, where the lack of water resources has severely impacted agriculture in one of the country's main producing regions.

However, the Valencian Association of Farmers (AVA-ASAJA) has expressed concern for their duration and possible negative impact for the setting of fruit, vegetables, citrus and grapes.

The group said that the rains were "very expected and beneficial in general terms for Valencian agriculture and livestock after several months of drought".

AVA-ASAJA is warning about possible damage to crops as lower temperatures, strong winds and abundant rains, a phenomenon known in the Iberic peninsula as the “DANA”, as excessive humidity and lack of solar radiation could cause problems in stone fruits, seasonal vegetables, citrus and grapes.

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In rainfed crops, rainfall "has arrived very late for cereals, but it is great for grapes, almonds, carob and olives because they were suffering severe water stress during the flowering and fruit set phases," the association said in a recent statement.

In the case of the Bobal grape variety there is "caution since low temperatures could lead to physiological wilting".

Valencian farmers had started irrigating three months earlier than last year and were consuming 40% more water, thus these rains "allow to save irrigation and alleviate production costs, replenish reservoirs and aquifers and clean the trees". 

Many areas have already received excessive rainfall in a short period of time, particularly the central regions and deep areas near watercourses and ravines, with flooded fields, dragging of land and breakage of margins, walls and other agricultural infrastructure already becoming a problem.

The storm has also interrupted the harvest of stone fruits (peach, nectarine, plum, apricot, among others) and seasonal vegetables (onion, potato, artichoke and broccoli). 

AVA-ASAJA foresees "harvest losses due to 'clavillat' in the skin of fruits, rot and fungal attacks". 

Also, if it continues to rain many consecutive days, in citrus "there could be problems with fruit setting as already happened last spring".

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