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Spain’s ag minister requests EU crisis funds amid severe drought

Spain has requested the use of crisis funds from the EU to deal with the drought conditions the country is currently experiencing.

Spain’s secretary general for agriculture and food, Fernando Miranda, insisted on “urgent measures to alleviate the drought situation” at the EU council of agriculture and fisheries ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday, April 25.


Miranda’s requests follow a letter sent the day before (Monday, April 24) by Minister Luis Planas to the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski.


In his letter, Planas appealed to Wojciechowski to activate the crisis reserve fund of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to give aid to Spain’s farmers and growers during the drought conditions.


According to COAG, Spain’s largest farmers’ association, the drought has already impacted 60% of the Spanish countryside and has resulted in “irreversible losses” in more than 3.5 million hectares of cereals.


The technical services of the association said the situation is “worrisome and widespread” with the country’s rainfall at -18.8% below its normal average.


Aside from the impacts on its wheat and barley crops, COAG said livestock farmers in Spain are also feeling the impacts of the drought, as sheep farmers have had to resort to buying feed and fodder to maintain their animals.


Orders have been given in some parts of the country to stop the planting of industrial tomatoes and other vegetables like carrots, broccoli and cauliflower due to the lack of water supply and restrictions.


Miranda said Spain is monitoring the drought situation and its impacts on its farmers in order to come to a conclusion on the most appropriate solution.


He requested flexibility in the application of CAP emergency funds and asked that the modifications be made quickly in the face of the country’s “current difficulties”.


Temperature forecasts


Spain’s weather agency AEMET has today (Wednesday, April 26) warned that, since yesterday, the “entry of a mass of very warm and dry air has been taking place” and it is causing a rise in temperatures which will continue in the coming days.


Temperatures are forecast to reach values typically seen in summer, with maximum temperatures exceeding 30° in many places.


The weather agency said that Thursday (April 27) and Friday (April 28) will be the “high point” of this spell of high temperatures.


AEMET said temperatures on Thursday will exceed 30°/32° in a good part of the southern interior of the peninsula and may even reach 38° in the Guadalquivir Valley.


Minimum temperatures will also be abnormally high throughout the country, AEMET warned especially during the early hours of Thursday to Saturday in Andalusia, where locally there could be nights that do not see temperatures going below 20°.


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