By Wendy Williams
FREAK weather in Spain has been causing chaos to the nation’s crops.
A recent cold and wet spell – coming on the back of the driest winter in over 50 years – has destroyed large quantities of tarragon leaving suppliers unable to source the herb.
Supermarkets in the UK have been hit by a tarragon shortage, leaving budding chefs struggling to find a replacement for the delicate aniseed flavoured herb often used in French cooking.
“Due to a number of issues in the regions it is grown, we, along with a number of other retailers, are currently experiencing problems with the supply of fresh tarragon,” explained a spokesman for Sainsbury’s.
Meanwhile, at the same time, some areas of the country have been hit with a drought that threatens to reduce the harvest of potatoes by up to 20 per cent.
Spain saw the lowest rainfall since 1947 during the December – February period
According to Jesus Carrion, from Agro-food Cooperatives, predictions for this year place the total cultivation area in Spain at 60,000 hectares which is a noticeable fall from the 78,787 hectares that were given over to potato cultivation last year.
Meanwhile cereal production has also been drastically affected.
Farming association ASAJA has confirmed that as much as half the cereal yield could be affected by the severe lack of rain costing farmers an estimated 10 million euros in lost revenue.
And Copa-Cogeca has warned thousands of hectares could have to be re-sown as a result of the extreme weather conditions and has called for ‘urgent help’ from the European Commission for affected farmers.
In flat areas like the Campina of Cordoba and Sevilla, farmers have been particularly hard hit.
It comes after Spain saw the lowest rainfall since at least 1947 during the December-February period.