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Extreme heatwaves are endangering quality of European delicacies, says Spanish regional minister

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This summer’s severe drought has damaged crops of all kinds in Europe. For example, cereal, honey and wine producers struggle to maintain normal production levels and ensure consistent quality.

A widespread heatwave has put the production of European specialties, such as world-famous French cheese and Spanish jamon, at risk. These products are protected under the EU seal, which certifies their quality and traditional character. However, to obtain this status, the product must be manufactured in a certain way. And this summer’s drought caused problems.

Begoña García Bernal, Regional Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development, Population and Regions in Extremadura, Spain, told Euronews how the heatwave has affected her region.

Extremadura is Spain’s poorest region, but produces the world-famous Jamon Iberian ham.

Made from black Iberian pigs, this livestock feeds on acorns and oak groves. However, summer weather disrupts forage and farmers struggle to consistently produce the same quality.

Other regions with regional protection status face similar problems across Europe. And to ensure the same guaranteed product, supermarket prices may need to be raised to account for more intensive production processes.

“It’s important because consumers don’t want to pay more for a product because of its relationship to biodiversity,” Vernall says.

The heat wave didn’t just affect locally protected products.according to JRC MARS BulletinThe August record of the European Crop Monitoring Survey shows that hot, dry weather had a major impact on crops. For example, cereal corn production fell by 8.6%, sunflower production by 5.5%, and soybean production by 9.6%.

Watch the interview with Begoña García Bernal in the video above.

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