Electricity price in Spain threatens the profitability of irrigation.

Juan G.R. Electricity price in Spain threatens the profitability of irrigation. 

  Water and irrigation. Volume 2, Nº 1: 5-6, 2011, Spain.

The increase in the price of electricity by more than 50% significantly affect agricultural production costs, profitability and threatens to gradual deterioration of the irrigated areas, increasing the water cost, since much of the irrigation techniques in Spain use electrical energy, the end of 2010 the irrigation areas of the country were 3.4 million hectares and already in the Mediterranean zones and in central Spain some regions had experienced decline in the irrigated crop areas.

The increase in contracted capacity in electrical equipment and the price of electricity by more than 50% significantly affects the cost of agricultural production and development of irrigated areas because of the 3. 4 million hectares currently owned by Spain Table 1, only 30% of the areas are irrigated by gravity, the remaining 70% require electrical power and diesel to deliver water to the crop, so the current price of electricity threat to the gradual deterioration of the irrigation areas using this type of energy, at the gravity irrigation areas that extracted groundwater and irrigate water with the use of electrical equipment. From irrigation techniques, the most affected by the rising price of light is the located irrigation, the most damaged crops are: olives, grapes, citrus and fruit, all of great economic importance in the agricultural sector and industrial .

In late 2010 there were some regions of the Mediterranean region and central Spain have recorded decline in their areas of irrigation. According to the National Federation of Irrigation Communities, FENACORE, soaring electricity tariffs which represent 30% of production costs and falling prices for agricultural products, have been virtually impossible to keep irrigation in some regions .

Farming in Spain is 2.4% of GDP, agriculture associated with the food industry represents about 20% of GDP, considering the complementary effect of agricultural products and their derivatives in the commercial sector and the foodservice total GDP is estimated at 30%, as Spain is heavy on tourism. The agricultural sector should be considered a strategic sector in the national economy and need for greater government attention since it provides the raw material needed for the sustainable development of other sectors of the economy. Agriculture, food industry and other economic sectors related to trade and food transformation employ millions of workers, so it is strategic to give preferential treatment to food production to make it sustainable and enable secure employment for many workers. The economic problems of the agricultural sector are saying long before the current economic crisis, not to give the required treatment will cause the output of the economic crisis in Spain is made longer, and that the low profitability of agriculture may cause medium and long term, higher unemployment, food shortages and their consequences, rising cost of food products. Irrigated areas have considerable weight in food production so it is necessary to establish for the Spanish countryside a lower preferential electricity tariff to make more sustainable and profitable the agriculture.

Table No I Spain areas for irrigation crops and irrigation techniques in 2010. Taken of: Environment, Agriculture and Marine Ministry.

Crops
Surface
1000 Ha
Sprinkler
1000 Ha
Automotive
1000 Ha
Located
1000 Ha
Total área
1000 Ha
Cereals
498.6
206.0
151.3
14.3
870.2
Olive
37.4
1.0
0.3
673.6
712.3
Grapevine
8.9
13.0
0.6
319.2
341.7
Citrus
63.5
0.2
0.1
228.0
291.8
Forages
158.2
72.8
46.9
0.5
278.4
Fruit trees
61.3
4.5
0.6
178.7
245.1
Industrials
57.8
73.4
32.1
35.0
198.3
Vegetables Flower
28.6
40.4
20.3
97.8
187.1
Tubers
5.5
34.1
1.9
2.8
44.3
Greenhouse
27.4
27.4
Leguminous
3.2
8.0
7.3
0.1
18.6
Plant nursery
4.3
1.6
0.5
8.6
15.0
Other crops
116.4
15.8
0.3
45.3
177.8
Total irrigated area
1043.7
470.8
262.2
1631.3
3408.0
Percent of area
30.6
13.8
7.7
47.9
100.0

http://www.aguayriego.com/2011/11/el-precio-de-la-energia-electrica-en-espana-amenaza-la-rentabilidad-del-riego/

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