Hail diminishes the sweet fruit harvest in the Pla de Lleida

Patatas Meléndez energía
Hispatec otoño 2022
Laiguant Lainco
Bioibérica CT

So far 1,178 hectares of sweet fruit have already been affected by hail.

lineaapoyos

GraniFor the second time, hail returned to the province of Lleida when sweet fruit was at the peak of its summer harvest, although the most damaged areas are mainly in the Pla d’Urgell, les Garrigues and the eastern part of Segrià where seed fruit and corn farms are the most common crops. In fact, with this hailstorm, it makes nine since last spring that have caused losses in two stages, before the fruit clearing stage and a few weeks before the start of harvest (in the case of seed fruit). Currently, there is a total of 1,178 hectares of sweet fruit that have been affected by hail in this area of Lleida.

The last of the storms occurred at 16’00h on the 23rd of June and affected 417 hectares located in the towns of Golmés, Mollerussa, Vila-sana, Vilanova de Bellpuig, Arbeca and Puiggròs, and lasted twenty minutes, after it began with dry hail and ended mixed with water. Sources consulted felt that the size of the hail was about two centimetres in diameter, which means that crops that have been directly affected could have significant losses. In the first review carried out by the Department of Agriculture of the Generalitat, it is considered that the most affected crop in this case is sweet fruit, although some cereal plots have also been damaged and 16 hectares of vineyards showed a damage of 30%.

Overall, 360 hectares of seed fruit were affected, with damages that ranged from 10-20% in the Mollerussa area, to 85% in the town of Miralcamp, so most parties will submit a report of the losses of 50% of the harvest. With regards to stone fruit, given that it is not as established in the area, the hectares affected amount to 57 with damages that exceed 50% only in the municipality of Miralcamp, one of the most damaged areas in recent years.

Furthermore, the storm on Tuesday, 17th June, affected different parts of the Catalan community, although the most affected provinces were Barcelona, Tarragona and Lleida. According to the first official estimates, the storm affected the area of l’Alt Urgell in Lleida, where it mainly caused crop losses in wheat and barley of the town of Peramola. Later the same storm moved towards the regions of Noguera, Pla d’Urgell and Segriá that had been affected by heavy rains, some accompanied by hail that caused crop losses in orchards, but damages are initially under 30% in all areas.

Agriculture has already developed a specific notice to treat the affected farms in order to minimize the adverse effects of fungal diseases that can occur after such events.

Also, the Catalan government emphasises the need to insure the crop to offset the loss of income caused by adverse weather conditions that are not under the control of farm owners.

To mitigate the damage caused by hail, the Government has opened a line of access to finance for companies in the sector in collaboration with the Institut Català de Finances (ICF), which aims to enable affected farmers to make investments in their facilities with protective nets, improve the efficiency of irrigation facilities (also anti-frost) in addition to help boost investments in processing and the marketing of food products. The total amount of funding available for these investments amounts to 32 million euros and Agriculture will guarantee 80% of the outstanding loans.

The existence of this guarantee by the Department of Agriculture allows for better financial terms on seven year loans with a 12-month interest rate corresponding to the Euribor plus 3.95%, with a grace period of maximum capital repayment of up to two years, an opening commission and a study of 250 euros for loans of up to 50,000 euros, and 0.75% of the loan amount that exceed this figure and up to 1,500,000 euros.

Another option that is made available to farmers are loans to ten years with an Euribor interest rate for 12-months plus 4.45%, with a grace period for maximum capital repayment of two years, an opening commission and a study of 250 euros for quantities that are under 50,000 euros and 1% of the loan for higher amounts.