HUELVA - Across the southern Iberian Peninsula, plastic greenhouses stretch to the horizon where rain-fed olives, wheat and grapes were traditionally grown. Spain and Portugal are Europe’s main producers of water-intensive berries. But the region is also one of the continent’s driest areas, where droughts are becoming more frequent. Reports have warned Europe’s fruit garden is in danger of becoming a desert before the end of the century.

This investigation explores how intensive berry farming is depleting scarce water resources, aggravating drought and soil degradation and driving biodiversity loss in one of the continent’s most climate vulnerable regions.

The project also looks at how agro-industries in Spain and Portugal rely on overworked and underpaid migrant workers to feed Europe’s growing appetite for berries, and how despite the environmental degradation and labour exploitation it involves, the industry continues to receive governmental support and EU subsidies.

© Kira Walker

Team members

Marta Vidal

Marta Vidal is an independent Portuguese journalist based in Portugal.

Marta Vidal

Kira Walker

Kira Walker is an independent journalist and photographer based in rural Andalusia, Spain.

Kira Walker

Staffan Dahllöf

Staffan Dahllöf is a freelance reporter based in Copenhagen, specialised in FOI.

Staffan Dahllöf

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