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Extraordinarily late rice harvest begins in Delta de l'Ebre

10% drop in crop yield expected due to Storm Gloria, spring rains, and Covid-19

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30 September 2020 03:20 PM

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ACN|Deltebre

Southern Catalonia's Delta de l'Ebre region has kicked off an extraordinarily late rice harvest this week.

And unlike other years in the past, when the harvest is almost over by the end of September, this year only around a quarter of the total amount of rice has been collected as of yet.

The crop yield is also expected to be 10% smaller than past years, which could possibly end up increasing prices. Farmers estimate only between 120,000 and 130,000 tons of rice will be collected, down from 2019's 140,000 tons, due to a number of factors including the effects of Gloria, the week-long storm that battered the country last January, as well as spring rainfall and the pandemic.

Climate and pandemic impact sector

Around 3,000 hectares of cropland were flooded by Gloria, which in turn led to a snail infestation requiring further treatment. Spring rains then ended up delaying rice planting by an entire month.

Already off to a difficult start this year, the sector has also felt the impact of the Covid-19 public health crisis with a decrease in sales to restaurants and catering businesses as well as with the health and safety protocols put in place for harvesters: temperature checks and smaller groups of workers to avoid spreading the virus among others if anyone tests positive.

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  • Rice harvesting in Delta de l'Ebre (by Jordi Marsal)

  • Rice harvesting in Delta de l'Ebre (by Jordi Marsal)

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