Wednesday, October 27

Without water for farmers in the southwest of La Palma: “If it cannot be irrigated in two months, there will be nothing recoverable”

The Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of the Canary Islands has evidence that, at least, there is an agricultural area that does not have access to water for irrigation due to the lava flow from the La Palma volcano and in other areas, there are three damaged pipes. Arístides Medina, president of the Cuatro Caminos irrigation community, located south of Todoque (Llanos de Aridane), assures that for several days the plantations have been without the essential resource for crops, especially banana trees.

The bitter resignation of the banana trees with crops between the lava and the sea: “We demand fair prices”

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When it reached the town of more than 1,000 inhabitants, where it destroyed the church and the health center, the lava also broke a channel that ran through the area, transporting water from the Dos Pinos reservoir to El Manchón (near El Jedey ). “It was the only one that supplied us, we have no other way,” he says.

Alexis, a banana farmer on several farms between the Llanos de Aridane and Tazacorte, predicts that if it cannot be irrigated in two months, there will be nothing recoverable. “They will have to tear down the plantations and re-plant.”

The Ministry has explained, without giving more details, that they are studying different possibilities for farmers to irrigate in that area and, to this end, it has held a meeting with its counterpart in the Cabildo de La Palma and the banana entities associated with Asepalma . At the moment, a damage report with technicians has been activated to process the corresponding compensation.

But key access roads to these areas open and close under the uncertainty left by the advance of the wash. A National Police agent informed drivers on Tuesday that the LP-213 Puerto Naos highway was no longer accessible, nor was it accessible to farmers who had been allowed to enter on an exceptional basis.

“If they let us pass, we would try to irrigate the farms. I have not been able to see the plantations since the eruption began ”, remarks Medina, who no longer believes that anything can be taken from the harvest, which was beginning to be harvested, because“ it is full of ash ”.

Further north of Todoque, in Dos Pinos, the network is cut off, but they can still be supplied by the transfer of the Insular Water Council and the wells. José Antonio Gómez, president of the Dos Pinos irrigation community, says that they are still allowed access to areas where there is no affection, but “it is already a disaster” and “some partner is on the limit” because although it can be irrigated , “she’s lost”.

“I have two hectares of banana trees and with the ash it is impossible to work. There are greenhouses where it is full night inside. Light does not pass through the ceiling, it is covered. It is very difficult to remove the ashes ”, he adds. The Ministry estimates that during the last week more than a million kilos of bananas have not been collected.

State measures for the primary palm sector

In addition to the measures announced by the regional government, with 7 million urgent for companies, especially in the primary sector, and the declaration of a catastrophic zone in La Palma by the central Executive, the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, has advanced this Tuesday that next week it will adopt measures aimed at responding to the agricultural, livestock and fishing sectors.

The Copernicus program, coordinated through the National Center for Monitoring and Coordination of Emergencies (CENEM), updates the condition of lava and ashes on the Island: as of this Tuesday, it has covered a total of 258 hectares, has destroyed 589 buildings and It has taken 21 kilometers of the island’s highway ahead.

But the only estimate to know the affected agricultural area is that of agricultural organizations such as COAG, ASAJA and UPA, which estimated it at 400 hectares. The data was provided on September 20, a day after the eruption.

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