The last torrential rains that have struck the Valencian Community have caused very serious damages to the agricultural sector, as they have denounced the agrarian organizations AVA-ASAJA and LA UNIÓ DE LLAURADORS I RAMADERS, that quantify the damages caused in agricultural infrastructures and crops (mainly of persimmon, citrus, table grapes and olive groves), in costs above 100 million euros.
Thus, since AVA-ASAJA, in a first and tentative estimate of the incidence of recent storms, losses are estimated around 172 million euros. For its part, LA UNIÓ speaks about 140,000 ha., although the damage caused by the continuous rainfall is substantial, it is risky to offer a definitive estimate when it is not yet possible to enter the farms.
In an AVA-ASAJA dam release, citrus and agrarian infrastructure are the chapters that have suffered the most virulent effects of the storm, which in many areas has left more than 200 liters per square meter, although have not escaped to the devastating incidence of the rains the persimmons, nor the vegetables, nor the olive grove nor the animal facilities. In the case of citrus fruits, 40% of the production of medium-season mandarins that had not yet been harvested is almost entirely lost as a result of the devastating impact they are having on fruit physiopathies such as “pixat” or The “watery”, caused by a persistent excess of moisture and water. Also the wind has thrown many fruits to the ground.
From LA UNIÓ it is estimated that the cultivated area of citrus with affection amounts to 105,000 hectares. For this organization, “in citrus can be missed the pending harvest of medium-season mandarins such as the Clemenules by pixat affection and the percentage of Navelinas not yet harvested or part of the varieties of oranges more late as Navel, Lane-late or Navelate that show symptoms of watery”. In this sense, LA UNIÓ notes that these rains are not the cause of the disastrous campaign that has had the citriculture Valencian, rather it has been due to purely commercial circumstances. Therefore, recommends that farmers with a contract of sale and fruit in good condition to make an assessment of their plot and send a burofax to the trade indicating that the fruit is in a condition to be collected and, consequently, that the agreement is fulfilled between both parties.
The economic value of the tangerine crop whose commercialization will be impossible for the reasons mentioned above exceeds 50 million euros, according to AVA-ASAJA
As for oranges, mainly navelins that had not yet been harvested from the tree – about 30% of the production – as well as the later varieties, whose collection has practically not started, the losses estimated by AVA-ASAJA fluctuate around 40 million euros.
In estimations of AVA-ASAJA, the damages of the storm in the whole of the citricultura of the Comunitat Valenciana exceed the 90 million euros
Regarding the condition of the persimmon, AVA-ASAJA’s technical services point out that 30% of the total harvest that is still pending harvesting around 15% can not be marketed due to the damages suffered, a loss of about 12 million for producers. For its part, LA UNIÓ gives the data of 1,500 damaged hectares of persimmon plantations.
The enormous amount of water that has fallen these days in the Valencian territory has also been attacked in the agricultural infrastructure: terraces, rural roads, greenhouses, wells and irrigation facilities, as well as the own woodland, that in certain areas can die due to root asphyxia, have been significantly affected.
AVA ASAJA estimates the losses caused by the storm in agricultural infrastructure in about 50 million euros
In vegetables, the fields of onions, cauliflowers and lettuces of the regions of l’Horta and Camp del Turia have been flooded and the combined value of harvests destroyed by the storm amounts to about 14 million euros, according to AVA-ASAJA, while which LA UNIÓ refers to more than 8,000 hectares affected by horticultural crops.
In the case of the olive grove, AVA-ASAJA reports that water and wind have knocked down fruit in some areas of the Vall d’Albaida, Costera and Navarrés Canal, causing losses that farmers put into something more than a million of euros. On the other hand, from La Unió is indicated as one of the most affected olive varieties the Manzanilla, citing as example the comarca of El Comtat where 60% of the harvest pending of collecting has fallen to the ground. This organization figures the area of affected olive grove in about 23,000 ha.
In table grapes, LA UNIÓ speaks of damages in 1,500 ha. In the case of the table grape of the Vinalopó the last rains are the lace to an ominous campaign that began already with a reduction of the harvest of 25% by the drought.
The episodes of rain have caused the presence of fungi and humidity that have harmed a good part of the production pending to collect, especially of the variety Aledo, which is consumed in these Christmas and New Year’s Eve
All this has led to a 20% increase in costs for farmers in order to save as many grapes as possible.
Finally, in the livestock sector AVA-ASAJA finds that the rains and the wind have caused considerable flooding and destruction in a large number of pig farms and also poultry farms, although to a lesser extent. In a first provisional estimate, the amount of losses in livestock is around 5 million euros. For LA UNIÓ, it is necessary to consider the clearings and shadows that this temporary brings to the extensive cattle ranch. On the one hand, damage to farms due to flooding or damage, and the fact that production costs will increase because they can not go out to pasture in the most affected areas. On the other, the regeneration of the pastures for the next months.
AVA-ASAJA demands from the Administrations a plan of special measures with aid for plots that have lost more than 30% of their production, subsidized credits, reduction of modules, exemption of rustic IBI and subsidies to replant dead trees by suffocation
Also, this agrarian organization asks Agroseguro to act quickly and agility both in appraisals and in the payment of claims.
In this same line, LA UNIÓ requests agility in the examinations, and to Administrations that, immediately, agree the following measures for all those farmers who have trusted in the system of agricultural insurance and have contracted a policy:
• For citrus, table grape and vegetable insurers:
- Compensation of the actual damages of the plots according to the commercial demands.
- That the insured does not assume the franchise of the policy.
• For insured persons of persimmon:
- Include the damages produced on the skin of the fruits (spots) that Agroseguro excludes from the coverage of this line of insurance.
In addition, LA UNIÓ will request a package of aid to the Public Administrations (Central Government and Generalitat) to repair the damages in agricultural infrastructure as urgently as possible and compensations for affected farmers in the line of the aids established by the frosts that occurred in the year 2005: direct aids, tax exemptions and social security contributions, subsidized credits, and subsidies for replacement of trees and fungicides.
It also calls for the construction of the necessary infrastructures (such as reservoirs) to collect the fallen water that now goes to the sea in the middle and lower courses of the rivers and ramblas and not always depend on hypothetical transfers that depend on political decisions.
As LA UNIÓ points out, “for regions where there has been no damage, or interior areas and crops, among others, such as the vineyard or nuts, the rains have been very beneficial because they have served to save irrigation, aquifers, fill the headwaters of rivers and clean the trees to avoid possible pests.
AVA-ASAJA recalls that to the more than 170 million losses caused by this last temporary in the Valencian agricultural sector must be added the damages, evaluated around the 100 million euros, caused by the rains and the hailstones of the previous weeks, bringing the total amount accumulated during the autumn and winter of this year approaching 300 million.
Sources: AVA-ASAJA and LA UNIÓ