The aftermath of storm Daniel has left a significant mark on Thessaly’s cotton crop, with an estimated damage rate of nearly 70%. As a consequence, the region’s cotton production is anticipated to plummet by at least 50-60%, exerting a ripple effect on Greece’s overall cotton output, with an expected reduction of 15-20%. These concerning statistics were shared by a senior researcher at a cotton quality control center in central Greece on Saturday.
Thessaly, boasting approximately 250,000 hectares of cultivated land throughout the country, accounts for a substantial portion of Greece’s cotton production, with roughly 80,000 hectares (32%) dedicated to this crop. Among these, approximately 41,000 hectares are situated in the regional unit of Karditsa, 27,000 in Larissa, 9,300 in the regional unit of Trikala, and around 3,700 in Magnesia.
Dr. Mohammed Darawsheh, a Senior Researcher at the National Center of Classification and Standardization of Cotton in Karditsa, explained that the severe weather damage struck the cotton crop relatively late due to prior weather conditions. A substantial proportion of cotton bolls had not yet opened. Consequently, depending on the duration and depth of the water inundating the crop, a considerable portion of the bolls may remain unopened or experience abnormal openings.
This year, in addition to weather-related damage, an array of other factors threatens the future of cotton cultivation in Greece. These include elevated production costs, increased market demand, and the implications of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Furthermore, Thessaly is home to approximately 20 ginning plants, many of which have suffered extensive damage to their infrastructure and equipment. Dr. Darawsheh expressed concerns about potential losses in stored ginned cotton from the previous ginning season.