Continuing drought leading to crop failure in Spain

Southern Europe’s winter drought has led to water restrictions in France and Italy, and some ecologists are warning that Spain may need to permanently transition away from producing cereal crops such as wheat and barley.

Euronews reports that months of drought has interrupted this year’s harvests and COAG, the main Spanish farmers’ association has warned that “Irreversible damage has been done to more than 3.5 million hectares of crops.”

Sergio Vicente-Serrano, a researcher at the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology of Zaragoza said “If rainfall does not improve within a few days, then rain fed crop production, especially winter cereals, will be significantly reduced.

“If it continues like this, then, logically, the harvest will decrease, and therefore prices will rise. It should not be forgotten that drought is a phenomenon characteristic of the Mediterranean climate, that is not something new, connected with the process of global warming, and not a process that we have experienced only in the last few decades. But the problem is that in recent years we have also suffered from a lack of precipitation against the backdrop of a noticeable increase in temperature.”

The Spanish government’s National Drought Committee is meeting to discuss the problem later this week.

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