The Government of Pedro Sanchez yields to the pressures of the field and will approve today, in the Council of Ministers, the royal decree for the transfer of the eight million euros to lower the extra cost paid by Canarian farmers for the desalination and extraction of water from wells and galleries. The agricultural sector is now waiting to know the details of that approval to decide whether or not to cancel the demonstration scheduled for next Friday due to the delay in the arrival of that item, included in the 2018 budgets.
The secretary general of the PSOE, Angel Víctor Torres, stressed yesterday that it is a "great news" that island farmers can count on subsidies that lighten the economic outlay they have to make to irrigate their crops. However, the candidate for the presidency of the Canarian Government also demanded the regional executive "diligence" when transferring funds to the field, criticizing that it took more than a year to award the six million for agricultural water aid corresponding to the accounts of 2017.
Just yesterday, the Government of the Canary Islands published the definitive concession of these subsidies, of which 45.13% monopolize Gran Canaria. In total there are 28 winners, most communities of irrigators, cooperatives and agricultural companies, which provide water for agricultural irrigation from wells or water treatment plants. Although the volume of subsidies is low, the number of beneficiaries ranges between 4,000 and 5,000, according to industry estimates, because farmers will be able to buy irrigation water more cheaply.
For Torres, the departure of tractors and livestock to the streets of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife on April 5 has no meaning because the central government and the PSOE have kept their word. "We said in December that this money would come to the Canary Islands yes or yes," he said. Therefore, the only reason for the protest to be maintained is, in his opinion, to demand from the regional executive celerity in the receipt of funds.
Despite the announcement made by the PSOE, the agrarian sector distrusts the word of the central government and, at the moment, maintains the mobilization. "Seen the seen we prefer to see the fine print before", indicates the president of the Association of Farmers and Ranchers of the Canary Islands (Asaga Canarias), Angela Delgado. The different associations and communities of irrigators will meet on Monday to analyze the terms of the decree announced and make a final decision on the relevance of maintaining the demonstration.
The farmers maintain that the draft of the royal decree contained a series of "anomalies" that had to be corrected. Asaga, who presented several allegations, criticizes that the Government of the Canary Islands have to advance the game of eight million if the document goes ahead with the initial conditions, something that did not happen in the previous call. From his point of view, this circumstance is "unacceptable" because it would further delay the convocation and the resolution of the aid.
The COAG and the communities of irrigators also demanded facts and not announcements to the PSOE, party to which they noticed that what is at stake is the agrarian REF, according to Efe. "The problem is that it works with a media coup," said COAG president Rafael Hernández, when the Socialists would have to "fight motu proprio for these aids."
Regarding the eight million in aid to irrigation that must also reach the Canary Islands this year due to the budgets being extended, Torres did not specify anything except that he trusts that the PSOE can present new accounts after the elections. In any case, the leader of the Canarian Socialists argued that in the budgets rejected by the opposition there was no opportunity to include these improved aids through the amendment process. Likewise, it played down the fact that the announcement of the approval of the royal decree in the Council of Ministers is made through the party and not through the Government Delegation. Torres stressed that both are "perfectly coordinated" and that it is secondary to make the approval known. "Farmers want this to be approved," he pointed out.