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Irrigated crops generate a net level of income sufficiently greater than rainfed crops. However, previous results show that greater water consumption does not necessarily imply a greater gross margin. Therefore, crops such as vineyards or garlic can achieve better results than maize or alfalfa. The drawback of these crops is a greater amount of farm labor. This is the main attraction of such crops to the Regional Administration, because they increase the number of full-time farmers in the zone. Crops like barley and maize, are easy to manage as they permit farmers to arrange their agricultural activity with other activities such as construction and industry. Therefore, in many cases there are individuals who work part-time as farmers.

The continuous decrease in the countryside population and the shortage of water resources are causing the transition towards tree and extensive horticultural crops. This fact is due in part, to young farmers being better trained and full-time.

2.2 Main Irrigable Areas of Castilla-La Mancha (Uhs 08.29, 04.04 and 04.06)

2.2.1 Current Situation

CLM is a region with a limited tradition in irrigation, crops having been previously restricted to fertile valleys of rivers and to small zones watered with wells. The progression of surface irrigating in the region appears in table 2.10.

Table 10: Progression of irrigable area in Castilla-La Mancha (103 ha) (JCCM, 2005;

MAPA, 2006)

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