Drought threatens Catalan crops
In some cases production is decreasing, while in others the product’s size is smaller than it should be
Drought threatens Catalan crops, especially in areas of dryland farming. After a warm summer and the lack of rainfall in autumn, the weather in winter continues to be arid. The lack of water is affecting various dryland farming, such as cereals and olives, or citrus fruits. In some cases, the production is decreasing, while, in others, the products do not grow as they should and their size is smaller than usual. Water availability is another worrying factor for farmers. Water reservoirs are below 50% of their capacity, and there are fears of water restrictions in the future. High temperatures also threaten the fruit sector, as trees could have an advanced flowering.
In central Catalonia, cereal crops grew during the first weeks, but stopped growing at the same speed due to the lack of rainfalls. Thus, the plant is much smaller than it should be at this time of the year. Still, farmers in central Catalonia said that it is still early to know how drought will affect cereal crops. In some weeks, the crops will start growing and then the consequences of drought could be assessed.
In the Baix Llobregat county, near Barcelona, water availability is a worrying point. The reservoir that provides water to most of the crops in the county is below 50% of its capacity and water restrictions might be put in place if it falls below 35%.
In southern Catalonia, the most affected crops are olives and citrus. The production of olives has decreased, and farmers warn that next year it could be worse if it does not rain soon. Regarding citrus, the price would rise, as they need a lot of water. Thus, farmers should use supplementary water, that would increase the price of the product.
In northern Catalonia, the crops are not as affected as in other territories of the country, since it rained in the first weeks of the year. Despite crops not being affected, farmers in northern Catalonia said that some of the plants had to be replanted, as they started growing badly.