Felipe Elvira examines the olive trees’ branches in the sweltering sun as they stretch as far as the eye can see up a dusty hillside in southern Spain.
“There are no olives on these. Everything is dry,” he said.
The majority of the nation’s olive oil is produced in the southern Andalusia province of Jaen, which is where he and his son own a 100-hectare (250-acre) olive farm.
However, a severe drought that is gripping much of Spain poses a threat to the harvest’s viability this year.
“We are used to a lack of water, but not to this point,” he said.
The area typically receives 800 liters (210 gallons) of rainfall per square meter, but this year is expected to only receive about half that amount.
“Every year it’s worse,” he said
Spain is being affected by global warming more than most other European countries.
Three severe heatwaves that have hit the nation since May have destroyed crops that were already suffering from an unusually dry winter.
“Olive trees are very resistant to water scarcity,” Juan Carlos Hervas, a professional with the COAG Farmers’ Union, said.
However, the trees “activate mechanisms to protect themselves when droughts become severe.” They continue to exist but stop producing, he added.