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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News

 

September 28 - "Biblical" drought bites into Spain's olive oil harvest

Article: Signs Of The Last Times
 

"An olive tree is like a camel, you don't have to give it much water, but when it's thirsty, it really has to drink," says olive oil producer Francisco Nuņez de Prado of the drought that could shrivel this year's harvest to half of last year's.

Nuņez de Prado's estate in the country's olive oil heart in Spain's sun drenched Andalucia is expected to suffer a sharp fall in harvest this year. His has been saved to some extent thanks to extensive irrigation, but other producers have seen not a single olive growing on their branches. That has caused prices to spike, with consumers expected to pay more for the 'green gold' in coming months as supermarkets jack up prices.

"It's been a drought of biblical proportions, the worst since 1945, the 'year of hunger' for Spain," said Nuņez de Prado, adding rainfall where his farm is located in the shadows of the Sierra Madre mountains was the lowest since that year.

A lean harvest will be another blow for Spain, the euro zone's fourth largest economy, which replaced Greece, Ireland and Portugal earlier this year as the main threat to the survival of the euro currency project.

Official data from Spain's meteorological institute shows this year has been the second driest in 60 years, after 1994. That has especially hit the arid south in Andalucia, which produces around 80 percent of the country's olive oil.

"In certain areas of our olive groves we have trees that have not one olive growing. We're looking at production of about half of last year, so we're not sure if the price rise will cover our costs," Francisco Vaņķ, a director at the Castillo de Canena olive grove that has been in the family since 1780, said.

 

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