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Drought: Agriculture must 'adapt to climate change'

Cracked earth is visible at the Sau reservoir north of Barcelona, Spain, April 18, 2023
Cracked earth is visible at the Sau reservoir north of Barcelona, Spain, April 18, 2023 Copyright Emilio Morenatti/The AP
Copyright Emilio Morenatti/The AP
By Enrique Barrueco
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The lack of regular rainfall and a temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius would cause Spain to lose 7% of its GDP, according to the Spanish Committee of Farmers' and Stockbreeders' Organisations.

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Drought is hitting agriculture hard in southern Europe. These periods of water shortage are alternating with periods of severe flooding, such as that which hit Italy in May, which the European Commission sees as an immediate consequence of climate change. 

Periods of extreme flooding or drought are capable of triggering a food crisis. The subsequent economic repercussions of this are deeply concerning.

Experts predict that a lack of regular rainfall and an increase of 2 degrees Celsius would cause Spain to lose 7% of its GDP, adding that global GDP would fall by 17% if global warming exceeded 3 degrees Celsius.

"The future of farmers lies in adapting to this climate change and these weather conditions," explained expert Javier Fatás, from Spain's Coordination Committee of Farmers' and Breeders' Organisations.

"We have to remember that over the last 50 or 60 years, the world's population has tripled and that we have an obligation, so to speak, to feed this world population."

75% of Spain threatened by desertification

The ravages of drought are being felt most acutely in southern Europe. 75% of the country's territory is already threatened by desertification, according to Javier Fatás.

"I believe that the work we need to be doing in the coming years is to try to be as productive as we are now with the water we have now, or with that less water or that smaller amount of water we are going to have in the coming years, through efficiency in its use [...] We need to be increasingly more sustainable with fewer resources than we have now."

Groundwater and nature reserves such as Doñana in Andalusia are strategically vital in the battle to preserve nature and combat desertification.

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