Plunging temperatures have caused localised damage to fruit and vegetable production in south-eastern Spain.
Initial reports suggest that two consecutive bouts of severe frost in Murcia and Valencia have affected a number of crops, predominantly early stonefruit varieties, which had already started flowering.
Growers unions said peach and nectarine orchards in the countries of Ribera and Vall d’Albaida in Valencia were among the worst hit as temperatures plunged to -6oC, along with areas around the Vega Alta de Murcia.
Almond production in areas around Vinalopó, Valencia, and the municipalities of Noroeste and Antiplano in Murcia has also suffered some damage.
Agricultural organisation UPA estimates that around 60,000 tonnes of early and extra-early stonefruit varieties have been lost in Murcia, equating to 30 per cent of the harvest.
Among the actions taken by growers to protect their crops are the installation of thermal blankets and windmills and the burning of paraffin drums.
However, this last measure has been criticised by environmental groups, who argue that the dense clouds of smoke have a significant impact on air pollution.