The torrential rain that hit southern Spain over the last week has caused terrible damage to the greenhouses and fields that provide an estimated 80 percent of Europe’s fresh produce during the winter months.
Murcia recorded the heaviest rainfall for 30 years and caused damage to agricultural areas estimated at over €50 million.
The Campo de Cartagena suffered devastation across some 50,000 hectares of farmland, according to the regional agricultural minister who visited the area on Thursday.
Over the winter months the region exports millions of euros worth of veg and salad crops to supermarkets across Europe, being the main provider of cauliflower, courgettes, lettuce, spinach and tomatoes.
But newly planted stock has been wiped out in the floods, while more mature crops that survived the torrential rain are now rotting in the water-logged fields susceptible fungal infections and mildew.
The flooding has also left producers unable to harvest for several days as the ground is so saturated that it’s not safe for vehicles.
A spokesman told The Grocer: “These have been among the worst downpours we have seen since these farms were established in the 1980s.”
“The rainfall has been so intense that the ground is saturated and there is nowhere for the excess water to go.
“It has become difficult to pick the crops or bring trailers in that are already out in the fields because the soil is too wet.”
Andy Weir, head of marketing for fruit and vegetable wholesaler Reynolds. said: “Any adverse weather conditions come January would be particularly tricky, as many people turn to healthier eating following the Christmas period.
“Demand for salad ingredients traditionally increases.”