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Spain's Farmers, Ranchers Ask for Drought Allowances

Spain's Farmers, Ranchers Ask for Drought Allowances

15 May 2012

SPAIN - Debt and unemployment aren't the only economic worries for Spain - their agricultural sector continues to be battered by Mother Nature.

A spring spell of cold and wet weather, coming right behind of the driest winter in over 50 years, still hasn't lowered Spain's drought threat. The continuation of Spain's long-running drought has cut the country's capacity to irrigate crops and generate hydro power.

Spain's Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers (UPA) has asked the Ministry of Agriculture to remove the mandatory requirement to maintain crops in the ground until May 31. The development of varieties such as cereals and pulses is so poor in some regions because of drought, the farmers believe that the use as food for these crops would be the most useful.

The worst drought in 70 years has generated particularly abnormal field conditions across most of the country. Crops have developed exceptionally late and yields are inadequate, because of the lack of rain throughout the fall and winter.

"Right now we are in a position to verify the consequences for farmers who are suffering because of drought, such as flowering and ripening problems, including irregular plant emergence," said Agriculture Secretary UPA, Ignacio Senovilla. "The recent rains that have fallen this spring have unfortunately come too late."

Royal Decree 202/2012 establishes as a prerequisite to collect aid of Article 68 of the Community rules, and to ensure the successful implementation of the standard-maintenance crop, at least until 31 May. UPA asks to remove this limit and allow the cattle to take advantage "to tooth" these crops as pasture immediately, because the intense heat coming to the Peninsula "may end up ruining" these crops in a few days.

"Everyone would gain," says Roman Santalla, secretary of Livestock UPA, "We would have more grass available for our animals. It would save the cost of having to eliminate deficient crops."

The Aragon region has already implemented this measure, UPA and now calls on the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment to extend it the rest of the country in areas where crop development has been poor.

TheCropSite News Desk

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