The countryside adapts its crops to the inflationary pressure of the climate

The countryside adapts its crops to the inflationary pressure of the climate

Con heat waves more and more and more tropical nights In areas where this did not happen before, farmers have been at the mercy of climate change for several years now, exposed to The millionaires lost and see how the cost of production (fuel, electricity, fertilizer) will not stop rising. In recent times, moreover, high temperatures have been accompanied by severe droughts, storms ,and hailstorms, which have destroyed entire crops. “All predictions show that by 2030, the availability of water in the Mediterranean will probably be reduced by 20%, and agriculture will have to continue to make food in the same quality and ihe same quantity as today… If we do not take urgent steps, we will not arrive,” warned Robert Savé, emeritus researcher at the Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (IRTA), an organization that relies on the Generalitat.

All the predictions show that by 2030, the water availability in the Mediterranean basin will be reduced by 20%

The countryside, seeing how everything is transferred to the prices paid by the final consumer, must act. It has been done, to begin with, by expanding the surface area dedicated to ecological products, with the consequent saving of fertilizers and chemical treatments included in this practice. He did it to develop new plants or recover old varieties that are no longer used, and better adapted to new climatic conditions. The most recent example of this case is apple All, a bicolor fruit that is resistant to extreme heat, developed by IRTA researchers, in collaboration with producers and companies in the sector.

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“We have been working on innovative projects for several decades. varieties of apples and ppears becausewe observed that they have problems at high temperatures,” explained Luis Asín, head of the IRTA Fruit Growing program in Lleida. plant behavior, the research institute launched a long-term program to obtain better-performing varieties. the severe heat waves in recent years, according to Asín, “causing damage to the skin of fruits and the productive cessation of trees, among other problems.”

“For this reason, we are working in partnership with a New Zealand company called Plant & Food Research, which advises us on the process, to test production. fruits that are better adapted to the new climate” continues the agronomist. To Tutti apple, which “also adapts to trends in taste and texture of the consumer”, says Asín, about 50 hectares of land are now dedicated to Lleida and Girona, added Joan Bonany, director of the program that develops new varieties. “We have a first harvest of 100,000 kilos  still a small number to be able to compete in the market, but it already allows us to prove that,Tutti supports 40 degrees well within a few days,” said Bonany.

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Organic farming

But while researchers continue to cross plant species in laboratories and test fields, many farmers have decided to switch to organic production, as a measure to adapt to the new climate conditions. And, incidentally, reduce the cost of production. “An example of this trend is the vineyard, which is in addition to finding farms higher than sea llevelbeen betting on biological pest control systems for several years now,” said Robert Savé, former IRTA viticulture coordinator. Indeed, Savé admits, that in the case of wine and ccavakey factor is consumer demand, which drives organic crops.

But also the organic pistachios have been triggered. Although it is still a minority production, the number of lands dedicated today to this nut has grown by 1,057.6% since 2011, up to 49,534 hectares. Another product where ‘organic’ production is also increasing is oil, which has been marked by drought for three seasons, which has led farmers to try to save production costs by reducing treatments. The measure, however, has so far hdid not affectfinal product prices, which have risen nearly 75% this year.

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In the year 2022, the area dedicated to organic production in Spain increased by 1.5%, reaching a total of 2,675,331 hectares. This corresponds to 11% of the useful agricultural area of ​​the country, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture. With this, Spain was placed in the top 10 producers in the area, in the EU ,and ihe world. “Spain is a key factor to fulfill the agrarian dimension of the European Green Deal and, in particular, to achieve the goal that 25% of the agricultural area is dedicated to organic production in 2030”, emphasized Minister Luis Planas in a conference held last September.