Supplies of animal feed could suffer. | Lola Olmo


The war in Ukraine is another major blow to Mallorca's farmers. Drought and rising costs of production because of the increased prices of fuel and electricity are now compounded by disruption to the supply of cereals from Ukraine.

Sebastià Sagreras, a farmer in Campos, offers a blunt assessment: "We are in the most critical situation I have ever known. We have to bring food from the mainland and transport is more expensive than the feed or alfalfa itself. A kilo of feed is more expensive than a litre of milk."

While the whole sector is affected by rising prices and also by the generally low prices paid to Mallorca's farmers, cereal is of particular concern. The situation was exacerbated last year when the cereal harvest was down by some forty per cent compared with the previous year. Buying from the mainland adds cost, while 50 per cent of imported cereal comes from Ukraine.

Joan Simonet, president of the Asaja agricultural businesses association, says that cereal is the basis of animal feed and is 50 per cent above its normal price. "The animals have to eat every day. If a farm closes, it will not start again. There is a lot of genetic selection work and other factors. So either you close or you have to keep holding on."

Various proposals are being made, such as permitting planting and grazing on fallow land, the planting of sunflowers instead of corn and allowing imports of cereal from the USA, Canada and South America. France supports this, but the EU has, until now, been reluctant.

Simonet's view is: "If we don't allow grain from the American markets and if the drought continues and we don't have our own harvest, there will be shortages."