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Abandoned Valencian Citrus Groves Double in Number

Wed 31st Aug 2011

Spanish Agricultural Unions have complained that that the number of Citrus groves being abandoned by farmers in the region of Valencia has doubled over recent years, following losses of income by the producers.

The Union claims that 13,953 hectares was abandoned in Valencia in 2010 alone, more than double the rates of decline seen since 2007.

Almost half of these groves are in the province of Valencia, and the Union stressed that the abandonment could have a knock on effect on the soil quality for other crops, and could have an adverse effect which causes the increase of several species that cause damage to crops such as rabbits, wild boar, mice, snails and ants.

Another cause for concern is that these abandoned groves will become disease reservoirs and nurseries for weeds, so they accumulate higher costs to eliminate this.

Perhaps more worryingly, a further problem is that of fires. A well cultivated and irrigated grove acts as a fire break whenever a fire threatens to spread, however an abandoned grove essentially causes fire to spread.

Unions have urged the Regional Government to consider not only the Economic and Environmental effect of the rapid disappearance of such citrus groves, but the fact that it is harming the image of Valencian Community.

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