In the face of Spain's historic drought, parishioners in Jaen, Andalucia, held a procession to beg for rain on Monday (May 1) with "El Abuelo" (the Grandfather), an ancient statue of Christ carrying his cross . In the late afternoon, thousands of residents filled the streets of this city in the interior of Andalusia to watch "El Abuelo" pass by, who had not been out for rogations asking for rain since March 1949. .
"We are in the grip of a persistent drought and this procession aims to ask the Lord to help us and save us", explained to Agence France-Presse (AFP) Ricardo Cobos, major brother of the brotherhood of " El Abuelo". "We depend a lot on olive trees and olive oil and it's an economic disaster when the land lacks water," he adds.
60% of agricultural land suffocated
According to COAG, the main farmers' union, 60% of Spanish farmland is currently "choked" by the lack of rainfall. The country's reservoirs are only filled to 50.1% of their capacity, even 24.8% in the Guadalquivir basin, also located in Andalusia.
Spain also experienced an exceptionally early heat wave last week, with temperatures above thirty-seven degrees in places. The Spanish government on Tuesday (April 25th) asked the European Commission to activate the Common Agricultural Policy's "crisis reserve" to help its farmers.
Alongside this demand, the Spanish government has announced a series of tax boosts for its farmers, including a 25% reduction in income tax, which should benefit 800,000 professionals.