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Serranía de Ronda's Genal Valley suffers its 'worst' chestnut harvest due to heat and drought
Drought crisis

Serranía de Ronda's Genal Valley suffers its 'worst' chestnut harvest due to heat and drought

Just 750,000 kilos of the crop was harvested when a good year usually results in five million

Vanessa Melgar

Ronda

Wednesday, 25 October 2023

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One of Andalucía's main production areas for chestnuts in the Serranía de Ronda has suffered a catastrophic harvest due to the drought affecting the region

Just 15% of the crop was harvested, around 750,000 kilos, in the Genal Valley when a good harvest usually results in 5,000,000 kilos. "It is the worst crop in the history of chestnuts," said Francisco Boza, grower and head of farming association COAG in Andalucía.

Many producers have even opted not to harvest the chestnut. "The warehouses closed around 11 October, the Genalguacil cooperative has not opened, the second grade cooperatives, Jubrique, Genalguacil, closed on 14th .... and the quality, due to gnomoniopsis (a fungus), has not been the best. The disaster has been confirmed," he added.

Boza said the situation is also dire in similar producing areas in Spain and the rest of Europe. "The drought and the heat have ruined the crop everywhere," he said, pointing out that this is the fifth consecutive year of bad harvests. "People may not see it as profitable and may stop maintaining their farms, a reference crop in the valley and one that has helped so much, for example, in the last two fires in the area, the fire did not intensify because the plots were clean," he said.

More aid

While acknowledging that the Andalusian government has eased the situation via its agri-environmental aid, which is already in place and compatible with that for maintenance or conversion to organic, which would mean an amount of around 500 euros per hectare, Boza said the sector will ask the Andalusian regional government for more aid to make up for some of the losses.

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