Portugal drought: Fruit growers’ harvest gloom after months of dry weather

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Fruit growers in drought-hit Portugal have been speaking of their harvest woes after months of dry weather.

It’s left around 40% of mainland Portugal in extreme drought, according to the Portuguese Institute of Meteorology (IPMA).

On Tuesday, Lisbon expanded an order to temporarily restrict water use for electricity production and irrigation to more of its hydropower dams.

“This year is going to be bad, it’s very bad, all the apples are very damaged,” said Luís Veiga, an apple grower in Carrazeda de Ansiães, situated 150 kilometres east of Porto and one of the municipalities worst hit by the drought.

“We haven’t even earned enough to cover the expenses. There was hail, there was a storm and then we had a lot of heat and a lack of water.

“We also couldn’t feed the plants well. It was all against us.”

Veiga normally produces 400-500 tonnes of apples per year. However this year, farmers have failed to reach even half of their targets.

“We had a very hot and very dry summer with heatwaves, so fruit production was reduced, associated with the low availability of water, which made this campaign quite dramatic and very bad for farmers,” said Duarte Borges from the Association of Fruit Growers, Viticulturists and Olive Growers in upland Ansiães.

Watch the full report in the video, above.