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Over 22 000 ha (54 000 acres) of crops damaged by hailstorms and severe weather in Valencia, Spain

Over 22 000 ha (54 000 acres) of crops damaged by hailstorms and severe weather in Valencia

In a significant blow to Valencia’s agricultural sector, hailstorms, winds, and rain on Sunday damaged more than 22 000 ha (54 363 acres) of crops, causing an estimated loss of over 43 million euros. The most affected regions were Utiel-Requena and Camp de Túria.

On September 17, 2023, La Unió Llauradora reported extensive agricultural damage across various regions in the province of Valencia. The loss, as per initial emergency assessments, stands at over 43 million euros. Citrus crops were particularly hard-hit, accounting for 43% of the total losses. They were followed by persimmon at 20%, and wine grapes at 16%.

Interestingly, one-third of the anticipated grape yield in the affected municipality of Requena and its surrounding villages had been harvested prior to the event, partially mitigating losses. Olive groves made up 10% of the damaged crops, with ornamental crops and nurseries contributing 8%, and vegetables 7%.

Areas in the regions of Camp de Túria and Utiel-Requena were among the worst affected, with up to 100% crop losses in some locales. The impact is not just limited to this year’s harvest; considerable damage to the trees themselves means repercussions will be felt for several years to come. The strong winds and rains further caused infrastructural damage and led to trees being uprooted.

Producers had already been expecting a reduced harvest due to adverse weather conditions in the past months. The recent hailstorms have further diminished these expectations and a new storm forecasted for mid-week threatens to compound the crisis.

Though the hailstorms caused significant damage, there were areas where the rains had a positive effect. These rains relieved water stress in both rain-fed and irrigated crops, offering a slight reduction in irrigation costs. They also cleaned trees of potential pests and replenished depleted aquifers and reservoirs.

According to La Unió Llauradora, the damages were not only concentrated in the regions of Utiel-Requena and Camp de Túria but extended to Ribera Alta, Ribera Baixa, Camp de Morvedre, La Serranía, and La Costera in the province of Valencia, as well as the southern coast of the region of Plana Baixa.

The broader impact of these events also includes damage to infrastructure and other environmental aspects. Trees have fallen, and there has been other collateral damage as well.

References:

1 El pedrisco causa 40 millones de pérdidas en más de 15.000 hectáreas de cultivos – AVA – September 18, 2023

Featured image credit: AVA

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