Sunday, October 03, 2010

Life on the huerta

Life as a farmer in any country is hard. In England the climate, long hours and the unpredictable crops provide a real challenge.

You might suppose that, here in Spain, things might be different but of course they aren’t. There might be abundant sunshine which brings crops to market much sooner but agriculturists have to regularly face the problems of water shortage.

When water is scarce, the quality is poor which leads to reduced cropping. This year there is plenty of good quality water and the heavy rains in June have cleaned the fields of contaminants but now prices at market are a big concern. When crops are abundant, the price at market is low and farmers see very little if any profit for their hard work.

Is it any wonder then that very few young people are showing interest in working in the fields. The lure of easier money in the construction industry during the nineties and the first part of this century drew a lot of young people away from the huerta.

With the virtual collapse of construction, there may be a move back to the fields but that will still leave a gap which could mean higher prices all round. In the end though, we still have to eat at whatever cost.

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