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Picture taken during the avocado harvest in Malaga. SUR
Drought and lack of irrigation water massively hits mango and avocado harvest in Malaga province
Drought crisis

Drought and lack of irrigation water massively hits mango and avocado harvest in Malaga province

An association for growers has predicted "losses in the millions due to the drastic decrease in production"

Matías Stuber

Malaga

Tuesday, 22 August 2023, 18:05

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Mango and avocado cultivation has for many years been a mainstay of the agricultural sector in Malaga province. The prolonged drought, however, is drastically reducing production, with losses of up to 85% in the case of mango and 60% in the case of avocado. In the Axarquia area, restrictions to save water are resulting in irrigation cuts, which are incompatible with crops that require a lot of water.

The seriousness of the situation has now been highlighted by the Unión de Pequeños Agricultores y Ganadores (UPA), which has revealed that the drought is leading subtropical farmers into an unprecedented crisis. "These are crops with neither a present nor a future because farmers are being forced to abandon their farms due to the lack of profitability," it claimed.

The viability of subtropical crops as an alternative to olive cultivation and as a way of offering a future to farmers in the area is also being called into question. "Years ago, mango and avocado were seen as a real alternative to olive groves and an economic complement to the agricultural income of the municipalities in the interior of the province", the UPA pointed out.

The UPA secretary general, Francisco Moscoso, has spoken of a "very worrying" situation and predicted "losses in the millions due to the drastic decrease in production". "The mango and avocado harvests will be very low due to a drought accentuated by the lack of water for irrigation," Moscoso maintained.

Beyond the lack of water, Mosocoso also warned of problems related to the food chain law and claimed that "it is not being complied with". "We are tired of denouncing the derisory prices that we are being paid. It is true that, at the beginning of August, mangoes paid well, around two euros, but as September approaches, the average price is already between 1.40 and 1.50 euros. And next month the price will continue to fall. Meanwhile, you can find mangoes on the shelves at prices that are almost four times what we farmers are paid", he pointed out.

He added that this combination of factors "means that producers do not see any profitability and will stop growing mangoes and avocados, with the result that consumers will have to find foreign products from third countries, with less quality and at a much higher price than is reasonable. And then we will see how the rural environment will be lost forever and our villages will become depopulated", Moscoso said.

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