The food products in Spain that will rise in price due to drought

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The food products in Spain that will rise in price due to drought
Olive oil is just one of the products that will increase in price due to the drought in Spain. Photo: ELVIS BARUKCIC / AFP

Inflation, war in Ukraine and now drought. The price of food in Spain has been rising dramatically over the past year and is now set to get more expensive due to the climate, adding more fuel to the fire.


Food prices in Spain rose by 16.6 percent year-on-year in March, putting a big strain and families, and now costs are due to increase again. Many have even begun to change their diets due to the prices of certain food groups, particularly fish and seafood.

READ ALSO - Mediterranean diet: Why the Spanish are eating far less fish

The Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) has already estimated that Spaniards are having to fork out an extra €924 per year on their weekly shop and now the drought is making the situation worse.

The lack of rain and dwindling reservoirs will particularly affect the price of cereals including wheat, barley and rye, which go into many of our everyday products. It will also affect fruits, vegetables, olive oil, wine and meat, some of the main pillars of the Mediterranean diet.

According to the Union of Small Farmers (UPA), the Spanish agricultural sector has been badly affected by the drought. The reservoirs are at 51 percent of their capacity and 16 percent below the average of the last 10 years. The amount of rainfall has also decreased by 22.5 in the last year.   

This April, as well as being one of the hottest could also be the driest on record. The lack of water not only affects the crops that have already been planted but those that are due to be planted soon, the most notable being tomatoes, rice and various types of melons.  

Javier Fatás, spokesman for the Coordinator of Organisations of Farmers and Ranchers (COAG), confirmed this by saying: "Yes, they are going to stop planting fruit and vegetables due to the lack of water".   

READ ALSO: Spain's adverse weather causes shortage of peppers in the UK 

COAG has calculated "that the drought affects 60 percent of the territory, with cereal losses ranging from 20-100 percent of the crops".

Fatás, believes that "the decrease in cereals will have consequences that are not immediate in terms of availability, but will directly affect the price."


Meat is due to increase in price too

The rise in the cost of cereals will also directly affect the price of meat. Fatás explains that with non-existent pastures and a higher cost of feed, livestock will suffer. All agricultural organisations agree that livestock is one of the biggest losers in this scenario. 

Vicepresident of the UPA, Ignacio Huertas and a farmer in Extremadura agrees saying that the cost of feed and fodder has risen significantly and that believes there will be huge losses in the meat sector.

READ ALSO: How to get a €90 food voucher in Spain's Valencia region

Olive oil – the heart of the Mediterranean diet

This will be the second consecutive year that will see a shortage of olive oil in Spain. The association of Irrigation Communities of Andalusia has revealed that there could be a reduction in the amount of olive oil produced in the area by almost 70 percent.  

The 2022/2023 harvest was the worst in the last 15 years, with a production of 15,000 tons of olive oil when it had never been below 20,000 tons previously.  

"Obviously it will be noticed in the price of olive oil," COAG said. "It already went up last year due to reduced harvests, but this year the forecasts say that they are going to have a difficult time. Two years in a row with low productions, causes prices to rise."


The cost of fruits and vegetables will also be affected

The restrictions on irrigation in the Guadiana and Guadalquivir basins is due to affect the cultivation of carrots, peppers, broccoli and cauliflower, and in the Córdoba area other crops such as garlic and onion.  

A reduction in the number of hectares given over to these vegetables has already been observed with a decrease between 20 and 30 percent.

According to UPA, however, the greenhouse cultivation of winter vegetables has been extended this year because it has not been possible in northern Europe due to the rise in energy costs.  

READ ALSO: Spain appeals for EU aid for drought-hit farmers

Fewer paellas this year?  

COAG and UPA have also revealed that in Seville and in the Ebro Delta in Catalonia, thousands of hectares of rice paddies are going to remain unplanted. 

The organisations believe that it will not directly affect the price of rice, which is globalised, but it will affect the availability and may be seen in the cost of local or organic rice. 


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