Drought fully hits main Spanish agro-food sectors

The farmers’ organizations estimate losses of €3.6-4 billion euro caused by the lack of water. The most affected sectors are cereal crops, vineyards, olives groves and the extensive cattle.


The food industry happens to be one the main Spanish industries, chaining years of growth, especially by the boost of exports. However, the sector is facing a crisis which will weigh down this season and, if maintained, can wreak havoc the next one. It’s the most serious drought in the country in recent decades.

The situation, already worrying before the summer, has worsened with an autumn without rain. According to the Spanish Meteorological Agency, rainfall in October was reduced by one third compared to the historical average for this month. In absence of official data, the situation in November has remained virtually unchanged.

For the farmers’ organizations, “the current situation is really worrying” and point out that this year the losses can reach €3.6-4 billion. An aspect to be highlighted is that this is a drought that affects the whole country and “not just the usual regions”.

They point at cereal, grapes, olives and extensive cattle as the most affected subsectors. In this way, some of the main food industries of the country, such as meat processing, dairy, olive oil and wine production may be seriously influenced by weather conditions. The afore mentioned industries have a total production value of almost €40 billion, more than 40% of total Spanish food industry. At the moment, the sectorial organization FIAB is silent about it.

But the situation can still affect more crops. In Spain the hydraulic reserve is 36.5% of its capacity, while the average figure of the last ten years is 54%. If it continues without a change of trend, there may be water supply cuts, which will also affect the irrigation. So fruit and vegetables, critical subsectors, would be compromised. They are among the highest added value crops and very focused on export.

Source: Cinco Días