Agriculture in the province is experiencing its worst year with losses exceeding 200 million

A year to forget. This is how 2022 goes for agriculture in the province of Alicante. Not surprisingly, the worst campaign in memory, together with losses exceeding 200 million euros. Issues of an unfair nature in many cases, such as meteorological negatives caused by climate change, rising costs and competition from third countries, put the industry on the ropes as almost all products turned into victims in one or the other. The extent of the disaster is so great that farmers face an uncertain future more than ever, and many are seriously considering throwing in the towel. They demand better prices, which serves to provide the crops with minimal profitability.s contemplating the introduction of new fruit and vegetable varieties that are more resistant to increasingly extreme weather conditions.

Citrus fruits are also responsible for most of the losses, especially as they are one of the most common crops in the Vega Baja region. The disaster in the first half of the operation came from the hands of the army. Heavy fruit flow from South AfricaWhile it caused saturation of the markets, which minimized the local citrus buying operations, it also brought a great collapse in prices. The result was losses of close to 100 million euros.

But things didn’t end there, as in the second part of the campaign, just as the industry was waiting for it to recover from such a disastrous start, The war in Ukraine broke out with devastating results. The war paralyzed exports to the Eastern countries, which led its main suppliers such as Turkey, Egypt, Israel and Morocco to divert their goods to the rest of the European market. As a result, 70% of the oranges and 20% of the Alicante tangerines in this second cycle of the campaign were left unharvested due to marketing impossibility, resulting in new losses of 40 million Euros.

Another of the major victims will be olive cultivation.. The combination of meteorological adverse events in the first half of this year is the reason for the decrease in production estimated at 68% in Alicante province. The rains and humidity of spring, especially in April, and the high temperatures of May, caused heavy defoliation of fungi on the trees, with dire consequences. To this must be added frost, cold, and sustained rainfall during the flowering season, which affects the environment and reduces the harvest. The damage is estimated to be around 22 million.

Cherry, for its part, is one of those crops that ties disaster campaigns one after the other. Found in the Marina Alta, El Comtat, l’Alcoià and Alto Vinalopó regions, the main enemy of this fruit is rain and this exercise has continued throughout the cycle. Firstly, in the flowering season with 20 consecutive days of rain, it directly affected pollination by inhibiting the movement of bees, and crushed a few flowers that were born. The cherries that managed to survive this first storm were later succumbed to rain and hail for another week, minimizing the harvest. The economic results were more than remarkable with a reduction in revenue of around seven million euros.

The rains also damaged the peach, apricot and plum harvest in different parts of the province, as well as the loquat in Marina Baixa, by 11 million.

In winter vegetables, producers came to the brink of loss due to the reduction in prices in the inflation environment, where fertilizer, plant protection products and energy costs increased exponentially.

But the work does not end there. Crops that have just begun to harvest also face very negative campaigns. Almond producer and Unió representative Juan Pastor, high temperatures exacerbated tiger plagueWith drought, it even puts the survival of some of the trees at risk. To this must be added the Xylella bacteria that are wreaking havoc in El Comtat, l’Alcoià and Marina Alta. The harvest will be reduced by 40%, causing seven million losses.

Pedro Valero, Asaja’s spokesperson at Camp d’Elx, explains: this year’s fig harvest will be halved because much of the production didn’t reach the right caliber “and it’s not even worth the harvest,” he emphasizes. In addition, there are 4 million losses in cereals and sunflowers due to the extreme heat throughout the province.

This series of misfortunes has pushed the boundaries of the agricultural sector. José Vicente Andreu, president of Asaja Alicante, stated that “production costs and apply the food chain lawThis way, farmers will have affordable prices and won’t have to sell below cost as they currently do. It also calls on the European Union to demand the same conditions for products from Morocco, South Africa and Turkey as for products grown on Community soil. “They’re asking us to – highlight – environmental conditions and the use of products that are not demanded from others, so they compete at lower prices.”

Similarly, Carles Peris, general secretary of La Unió, states that “people are not afraid to point out that more than ever they are discouraged.” It is urgent that farmers get fair prices for the work they do, and work should also be done on getting farmers to market. Varieties more resistant to those with climate changealthough it is complex.

A future threatened by transfer cuts

If the negativities in the weather, the skyrocketing costs and the prices of agricultural products remaining at the bottom weren’t enough, the interruptions announced in the Tajo-Segura transfer flow add an even more uncertain atmosphere to the future of the sector in Turkey. Province of Alicante. And all this in a context where irrigation water prices have doubled as a result of rising energy prices.

José Vicente Andreu, president of Asaja Alicante, does not hesitate to accuse the Government of using “demagogy influenced by ecological ideologies”. “We see how the big power companies empty the reservoirs without saying anything to generate energy and make exorbitant profits, while at the same time agriculture is accused of drying up Spain. This is real bullshit.”

The representative of the agricultural organization draws attention to the fact that the interruptions in transportation will have a very negative effect on the fields in the south of the province, and thinks that desalinated water is not an alternative.

This is a view shared by Luis Gómez, CEO of wholesaler La Redonda de los Huertos in Orihuela. In his words, desalinated water can be used for some exceptional irrigation in emergencies, but never as the main alternative. “We were not able to compete in any way with foreign products such as Algeria, Morocco or South Africa, but we could not compete with those in our own country,” he warns.

Meanwhile, José Vicente Andreu warns that the price of water has already skyrocketed as a result of the rise in the cost of energy. “Right now, he emphasizes, they pay 40 and 60 cents per cubic meter, which is double what was paid last year. This obviously affects profitability to the point where many farmers may stop watering.

Source: Informacion


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