Subtropical fruit growers are being forced to cut down trees. / E. CABEZAS

Avocado trees chopped down as Axarquía growers face 'catastrophe'

The regional government has already reduced the irrigation water quota by half and there are fears of further cuts as the area's drought situation worsens

EUGENIO CABEZAS AXARQUÍA.

The Axarquía's tropical fruit association has warned that the outlook could be "catastrophic" if the Junta de Andalucía reduces the irrigation quota even further this summer and if there is no rainfall at the beginning of autumn.

The complicated situation being experienced by the subtropical sector due to the persistent drought in the Axarquía is already forcing dozens of growers to cut down trees.

However, they fear that the next harvest, which will begin in November, could produce only 50 per cent of the current crop if there are further cuts and no rain.

The association's secretary Miguel Gutiérrez said, "We need emergency works so that the water from the treatment plants reaches more farms, and that the work to transfer water from the Chíllar river in Nerja and from Malaga city are, once and for all completed, and that the pending infrastructures that we have been demanding for decades are carried out."

He went on to say, "If they cut back to below 1,500 cubic metres per hectare or leave us at zero and there is no significant rainfall in the autumn, this could be a real catastrophe."