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Friday, July 12, 2024

Spain – ham. Jamón ibérico bellota endangered due to global warming

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The climate crisis is threatening Spain’s prized ham, jamón ibérico bellota. Rising temperatures and low rainfall are threatening a key ingredient in pigs’ diets, acorns, according to The Guardian.

In a country where there are as many pigs as people, there are many varieties of ham, but none is as respected as jamón ibérico bellota, which retails for more than 100 euros per kilogram, the British portal stated.

Jamón ibérico bellota – endangered ham

The Guardian explained that the ham is made exclusively from Iberian pigs, which must spend the last month of their lives on acorns in dehesa – a type of oak forest characteristic of the western and northwestern Spain.

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The portal pointed out that the problem is that due to the unusually hot and dry summers, oak trees produce fewer acorns. This, coupled with a fall in the market price, has led to a 20% reduction in sales of ibérico ham produced last year in Extremadura, one of only four small regions to boast a denominación de origen (a kind of trademark that speaks of its original origin). product).

A cold cuts stand at a market in SevilleShutterstock

Last year was the warmest on record in Spain and the third driest. Rainfall in Extremadura fell by about 35 percent. over the past 50 years.

– Dehesa consists of holm oaks that come from a humid climate, so it is a remnant of a time when the climate here was different than now. The trees are struggling to survive the long, hot, dry summers we now have,” said Francisco Esparrago, president of Senorio de Montanera, which produces the highest quality ham.

According to Esparrago, even if the 2023 summer isn’t as extreme as 2022’s, it won’t be good. “I expect that after last summer’s drought and winter with little rainfall, this will be the worst year in 40 years of working in dehes,” he said.

According to the rules, ham producers can import acorns from other places, but Esparrago does not support the idea. – The main directions are Morocco and Algeria, where of course there is no pig farming, so I am concerned that importing acorns may introduce new diseases, as happened when we imported palms from Egypt – he said.

The palm weevil entered Spain via Egypt in 1993 and destroyed tens of thousands of palm trees, the British portal explained.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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