Floods in Spain could lead to fruits and vegetables shortages in Europe

Devastating storms in the east coast of Spain have caused extensive losses to fruit and vegetable production and severely damaged infrastructure. The most affected provinces are Alicante and Murcia. The consequences of the flooding on the upcoming season are still unclear, however it is estimated that the worst cold drop in 140 years ruined 300.000 hectares of vegetables and citrus. 

Death, evacuations and catastrophic losses in agriculture followed the cold drop last week, a phenomenon that occurs every year along the Mediterranean coast and that is characterised for high impact rainfall events occurring in autumn. Growers associations initially estimate that there is damage to more than 300,000 hectares, with citrus, grapes and vegetables among most affected crops. 

The most damaged crops are citrus, which accounts for more than 40% of the total production in the area, with over 20,000 hectares flooded. The citrus forecast for the 2019-2020 campaign was already unfavourable with 6.27 million tons, 17% below previous year and 8% below the average of the last 5 campaigns. However, these figures are subject to change due to the impact of the cold drop, which inevitable will aggravate the situation. 

The production of vegetables, in many cases recently planted, pomegranates and persimmons will also suffer a significant economic damage, with 6000, 2000 and 100 hectares affected respectively and millions of euros in estimated losses. 

Although it is difficult to predict the economic consequences of the flooding for the agriculture sector at this point, some associations foresee more that 100 millions of euros of losses in crops located in the affected regions. Alicante would be among the provinces believed to have sustained the worst damage, with losses estimated in more that 92 million alone, and grower unions are asking the government to declare the worst affected areas a Catastrophic Zone.