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Orange Groves Seen Damaged by Hail in Spain’s Valencia Province

Hailstorms in Spain’s main citrus-growing province of Valencia caused “considerable” damage to orange groves and losses for vineyards, farm organization AVA-Asaja reported.

Hail was “particularly worrisome” for agriculture in Valencia’s Ribera region, where a yet-to-be-determined area of oranges was damaged, young-farmers organization Asaja wrote in a report on its website today.

Valencia accounts for 36 percent of Spain’s orange area and typically grows about 40 percent of the country’s crop, Agriculture Ministry figures show. The province’s orange harvest ranged from 722,431 metric tons to 1.55 million tons in the past decade, according to the data.

“We’re experiencing a spring marked by major atmospheric instability,” AVA-Asaja President Cristobal Aguado was cited as saying in the report. “After the drastic cuts to agriculture subsidies, farmers are more defenseless than ever against weather incidents.”

Affected farmers will seek aid and tax benefits from the government, as well as free fungicides to protect damaged crops, he said.

Spain is Europe’s largest orange grower and ranks sixth in the world behind Brazil, the U.S., China, India and Mexico, data from the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization show.

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