Hundreds of farmers protest in Madrid against unsustainable production costs




First act of a December that is announced hot for the Spanish countryside, and that will give the Government more than a headache. The fruit and vegetable producers Almería, La Rioja and other areas of Spain have gathered this Wednesday in front of the Ministry of Agriculture in Madrid to protest against the escaling of production costs (fertilizers, electricity, phytosanitary products …) and against what, from the main agricultural organizations (Asaja, COAG, UPA and, on behalf of Cooperatives Agroalimentarias, Coexphal) consider as “a lack of control” towards agri-food products of tthird countries. Especially Morocco and Turkey. In parallel, the aforementioned organizations are negotiating the schedule of mobilizations for the coming weeks and are waiting with expectation for the meeting called this Monday by the Minister of Agriculture Luis Planas with representatives of the entire food chain (producers, industry and distribution).

The main agricultural organizations have proposed to the Ministry of Agriculture to promote initiatives such as a specific electricity tariff for agricultural activity, fiscal measures such as a reduced agricultural VAT of 10% for all inputs necessary for production (fertilizers, phytosanitary products, feed, agricultural diesel, etc.) and agricultural services, as well as a upward revision of compensatory VAT for farmers in target estimate of 12 to 14%, as well as the deduction of the invoice of fertilizers and non-depreciable plastics.

They have also asked that “The entry price of the tomato quota contemplated in the European Union’s trade agreement with Morocco is reviewed” and that the sector is recognized. A message directed towards ministries such as Consumption and the Fourth Vice Presidency and Ministry of Ecological Transition.

7,700 euros more

The president of Asaja Almeria, Antonio Navarro, warns that “the rise in inputs and the problems surrounding trade agreements with Morocco, I am very clear that many farmers are going to stay by the wayside, they are not going to survive.” As an example, the head of this organization in the Anduluza province, explained that lEnergy costs have increased by 270% compared to the previous season, as well as plastics 35% – in Almería greenhouse cultivation has a very relevant weight – as well as fertilizers, which are already 64% more expensive. “One hectare of any vegetable is costing this campaign 7,700 euros more than in the previous one,” he pointed out.

In this sense, Navarro has regretted that unlike in other years young farmers are not joining and also talks about the landing of investment funds ready to cast investment nets in the troubled river that is today the countryside. «In Almería most of the farms are family owned, where there are already two or three generations working. If we continue with all this situation, in a very few years we are going to have many problems, “he warned.

For his part, the Secretary General of UPA Andalusia Cristóbal Cano, has emphasized compliance with the Food Chain Law, the second reform of which has just passed the filter of the Senate and will be voted definitively in the Congress of Deputies soon. «It is the only tool that allows the farmer to charge a decent price and just because of his work, ”said Cano, who believes that the food sovereignty of Spain and the European Union (EU) is at stake. In this sense, he has clarified that “this does not imply that the consumer pays more for the products” and calls for “a fair and proportional distribution” between production, industry and distribution.

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