The Andalusian countryside: "Drought can cause the loss of more than 120,000 jobs."

Several institutions, universities, and private entities have been analyzing in recent weeks how the already indisputable and undeniable drought affecting Andalusia can impact the region's economy.

According to BBVA, the drought has caused and will cause the destruction of up to 35,000 jobs in the agricultural sector between 2021 and 2023, and the Andalusian economy will grow less than the Spanish economy in 2022 and 2023 due to its effects.

These data are already quite revealing for their negative impact, which, however, for the main agricultural organizations in Andalusia, may fall "short."

"A report from Loyola University speaks of a 7% impact on GDP. To give us an idea, during COVID, there was an 11% drop. This report speaks of a loss of over 120,000 jobs," warned Félix García de Leyaristy, the general director of Asaja Andalucía, during his appearance on the program 7 Economía, which airs on Sundays on 7TV Andalucía.

For his part, Roque García, deputy general secretary for Rural Development and Water at UPA, described the desolate landscape that Andalusian farmers are facing at the moment. "We are coming out of an economic crisis, a pandemic in which we have been the ones who have kept food supplies going, with an increase in costs that we have not been able to pass on to our products, and now, on top of all that, we have the aftershocks of the drought, in which we are not having a good season, and we have no prospects for a good season next year, which leads us to a dead end," he summarized.

Criticism of all governments

During the program, which was exclusively devoted to the effects of the drought on the Andalusian countryside, the agricultural organizations expressed their dissatisfaction with the management of this environmental and economic catastrophe by both the central government and the Junta de Andalucía.

The organizations demanded that they stop their "squabbles" and reach agreements that allow for the necessary investments to make better use of the little rainfall in the coming years, which will be marked by climate change.

Likewise, the agricultural organizations insisted that the high inflation affecting the food sector is not the farmers' fault. "It must be made clear that the farmer is not the one setting the prices. We only try to set margins that allow us to live, and often we even have to sell at a loss," said Ramón García, general secretary of COAG Sevilla.

Animal slaughter

Livestock is also not immune to the harmful effects of the drought. The representatives of the agricultural organizations pointed out that farmers are having to make the "tough" and "drastic" decision to slaughter animals.

This situation already began to emerge with the pandemic. "Crops dry up, and there is nothing we can do. But with animals, we have to feed and water them every day. We cannot afford to feed the animals only with feed, which is very expensive. All these factors make it impossible to have even minimal profitability, and the only way left is to slaughter cows or goats," explained De Leyaristy.