No water for farmers in the southwest of La Palma: “If you can not irrigate in two months, there will be nothing recoverable”.

The Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of the Canary Islands is aware that, at least, There is an agricultural area that has no access to water for irrigation by the lava flow from the volcano of La Palma and in other areas, There are three damaged pipes. Aristides Medina, President of the community of irrigators of Cuatro Caminos, located south of Todoque (Llanos de Aridane), ensures that already several days ago that the plantations are without the essential resource for crops, especially bananas.

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

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When it reached the village of more than 1,000 inhabitants, where it destroyed the church and the health centre, the lava also broke a canal that ran through the area, carrying 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, banana farmer on several farms between Los Llanos de Aridane and Tazacorte, predicts that if you can not irrigate in two months, there will be nothing recoverable. “The plantations will have to be pulled down and replanted.

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

But key access roads for these areas are opened and closed under the uncertainty left by the advance of the wash. A National Police officer informed drivers on Tuesday that the LP-213 road to Puerto Naos was no longer accessible or farmers who are being had exceptionally been allowed to enter.

“If they let us through, we would try to irrigate the farms. I haven’t been able to see the plantations since the eruption began,” says Medina, who no longer believes he can get any benefit from the harvest, which was just beginning to be harvested, because “it’s full of ash”.

Further north of Todoque, in Dos Pinos, the network is cut, but can still be supplied by the transfer of the Insular Water Council and wells. José Antonio Gómez, president of the community of irrigators of Dos Pinos, says that they still let them access the areas where there is no affection, but “it is already a disaster” and “some members are at the limit” because although they can irrigate, “it is lost”.

“I have two hectares of banana trees and with the ash it is impossible to work. There are greenhouses where inside is the whole night. No light passes through the roof, it is covered. It is very difficult to remove the ashes,” he adds. The Ministry estimates that during the last week has failed to collect more than one million kilos of bananas.

State measures for the primary sector palmero

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 catastrophic area in La Palma by the central government, the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, has advanced Tuesday that next week will adopt measures aimed at responding to the agricultural, livestock and fisheries sectors.

The Copernicus program, coordinated through the National Centre for Monitoring and Coordination of Emergencies (CENEM), updates the effect of lava and ash on the island: until Tuesday, has covered a total of 258 hectares, has destroyed 589 buildings and has taken ahead 21 kilometers of road on the island.

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

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