Drought delays plantings in Mediterranean

Wed 26/04/2023 by Richard Wilkins

The lack of rain in Southern Europe has forced growers to delay planting, according to a Bloomberg report. Conditions are worsening for farmers in Italy and Portugal, with about 60% of the Spanish countryside experiencing drought conditions. 

Delayed planting is also expected to affect fruit and vegetable yields in the region for the second year running. Lower volumes could also drive up prices, which have consistently remained high in the past year even as inflation slows.

Water levels of Italy’s largest river, the Po, reached a 70-year low last summer, with many crops in the area lost as a result. “Sowing in the Po River area traditionally starts in late February or early March, but right now the soil is too dry,” said Massimiliano Giansanti, head of Italian farm group Confagricoltura. “The more we wait, though, the less we will get in terms of crops,” he warned.

Spain has already reported losses of more than 3.5 hectares of rain-fed grain crop, with nut orchards and vineyards also struggling due to the drought. According to Giansanti, industry losses could reach up to €20 billion ($22 billion) in annual sales and almost €8 billion ($8.7 billion) in exports.


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