July 14, 2020

Coronavirus in the Canary Islands: Farmers: “If God helps us long” – La Provincia

The expansion of the coronavirus and the declaration of the state of alarm by the Government has fully affected the primary sector in the islands due to the paralysis of sales to hotels, bars and restaurants and the marketing difficulties that the markets are encountering.

The general secretary of the Union of Small Farmers in the Canary Islands (UPA), Mario Escuela, points out to Europa Press that sales have risen in large stores in a “barbaric” way because there has been an initial upturn by families for domestic purchases but at the same time, he points out that the extension of the state of alarm is going to “affect” since the consumption of preserves or other non-perishable products is increasing “because people do not want to go out every day to buy.

He affirms that in the specialized greengrocers he is also “selling a lot” because consumers know the “quality” of fresh products almost “daily” but in the sector they are “very concerned” with the break in hotels, restaurants and street markets .

“If it is long for God to help us,” he points out, stressing that there are already cases in small cooperatives where there are layoffs because the sector was not prepared “for a disgrace” of these dimensions, which is also “very serious” on an island.

School advances that banana sales to the Peninsula are also going to start to collapse as of this week and it affects that the farmer’s markets, very common on the island of Tenerife for example, are being “very affected” by the restrictions on the movement of people on weekends.

He acknowledges that some small farmers “do not know what to do with the harvest and maintains that” it is better to take it directly to the elderly centers than to throw it away. “

In Tacoronte, for example, this weekend there were many difficulties for customers from nearby municipalities such as Santa Cruz de Tenerife or La Laguna to reach the facilities due to security controls that prioritize purchases to be made near addresses to avoid necessary displacements.

Therefore, the Coordinator of Organizations of Farmers and Ranchers (COAG) has demanded this Monday to the different administrations, especially the municipalities, to authorize the holding of markets for direct sales and proximity of agricultural products, in the face of the general suspension after containment measures of the coronavirus pandemic.

In his opinion, the veto of open-air agricultural markets is “incomprehensible and discriminatory” and he understands that the direct sale of agricultural products should be carried out normally and in any case complying with the security measures established by the health authorities.

According to the association, the loss of these direct sales channels, together with the closure of school canteens to which many farmers supplied food in different Autonomous Communities, represents a “serious damage” to the farms that use these marketing channels – around 25,000 in Spain–.


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