Following persistent rains in March, Valencian farmers were hit by an arctic cold wave last weekend. According to the first estimates of the Valencian Association of Farmers (AVA-ASAJA), the rainfall and frost at such an advanced stage of the season will surely cause over €25 million of losses to the region’s farmers. The crops most affected are almonds, stone fruits and persimmons, as well as citrus fruits and vegetables.
The association points out that the cold may have damaged around 90% of the almond production in the Utiel-Requena region. There are fields with all the flowers and buds “burnt”, and farmers fear that the trees will drop more fruit in the coming days due to the weak vegetative state. Other inland areas such as Valle de Ayora, Los Serranos or Hoya de Buñol have also been damaged.
Stone fruits have also suffered degrees of damage of up to 100% in areas such as La Ribera Alta, La Vall d’Albaida and Valle de Ayora. The fruits most affected by the cold are peaches, nectarines, flat peaches, apricots, cherries and plums. Similarly, persimmon plots where budding had started may have lost a large part of the future harvest due to the excessive drop in temperatures in La Ribera or Camp de Túria.
Citrus flowers and vegetables such as potatoes, onions, lettuce or cabbage have also seen damage. The period of rainy, cloudy and cold days has also caused the death of bees due to lack of food, in addition to large cost overruns in animal feed and heating for various livestock sectors.