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Drought and high temperatures hit the chestnut harvest in Malaga's Genal valley
Environment

Drought and high temperatures hit the chestnut harvest in Malaga's Genal valley

Farmers are predicting 2023 to be one of the worst harvests for almost 20 years, since the drought in 2005

Vanessa Melgar

Ronda

Friday, 6 October 2023, 15:42

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Drought has severely impacted this year's chestnut harvest in the Genal valley in Malaga province's Serranía de Ronda - the second largest producing area in the Andalucía region, after Huelva.

The harvest for 2023 will barely reach one million kilos, when a good harvest is around five million kilos, according to Francisco Boza, a chestnut grower in the Genal.

Currently, only the early varieties are being harvested and are not the bulk of the crop. The pilonga, which represents 80% of the crop will start to be harvested shortly. "The season will be very short, normally, the halfway point coincides with the Día de Pilar long 'puente' weekend and we think we will be finished then," Boza said, who pointed out that "there will be very few chestnuts and of a small size".

The farmer pointed out that the cause "is not just the drought, but also the way in which it has rained and, above all, the high temperatures we are experiencing".

"In the valley, around 900mm have fallen this agricultural year, which would be enough for a good harvest, but not with these high temperatures. In addition, a large part of this water has fallen in the form of a downpour and this is damaging, the trees don't make the most of this water," he said.

Boza said farmers needed help to save the crop. "There is no direct aid from the CAP, only agri-environmental aid, which has not been increased and barely covers the crop," he said.

This year will be the worst harvest for almost 20 years, since the drought that occurred in 2005, Boza said. It will also be the fifth consecutive harvest that has disappointed farmers, he added. "It is not profitable nowadays. The price is expected to be two euros per kilo, to the producer," he said.

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