The Canarian countryside assumes an additional cost of 60% in feed, fertilizers, SMI and electricity

The Canarian countryside assumes an additional cost of 60% in feed, fertilizers, SMI and electricity

Asaga plans to return to grazing to feed the animals due to the price and the scarcity of feed. / ARCADIO SUAREZ

The farmers demand that it cannot be bought below the production price. Asaja proposes recovering crops to feed animals

Silvia Fernandez

The farmers and winners of the islands demand solutions from the Government of the Canary Islands "so as not to continue losing euros" every day. Since the pandemic began and to date, in two years, the sector has borne an extra cost of 60% due to the increase in the cost of feed, fertilizers, the rise in the Interprofessional Minimum Wage (SMI) and the increase in electricity, while the prices of sale and your income remains stable. "If the rise in costs is not corrected, half of the livestock population in the Canary Islands disappears," says the president of the COAG, Rafael Hernández.

According to a report prepared by Coag Canarias and which is going to be sent to the Government, fertilizers such as ammonium nitrate have become 169% more expensive, up to 1.05 euros per kilo, while sulphate has increased by 80% and 74% phosphoric acid, up to 1.13 euros. The SMI, for its part, has grown by 41% from 2017 to 2022 and electricity has grown by 147%. "That's not counting the rise in recent days," warns Hernández. With regard to feed, that of dairy cows has rebounded 43%, to 334 euros per ton; 45% that of calves; 341% that of goats; 45% for pigs and 40% for chickens, with 442 euros per ton. For Hernández, the solution is to implement the food chain law in the Canary Islands and ensure that the sale price of the island's fields and livestock is not less than the cost of production. “The Law has existed since 2014 but has not been developed. The Ministry of Agriculture has been scattered and not focused on what is important », he criticizes.

The president of Asaja, Ángela Delgado, considers that a “paradigm change” is necessary in the islands in the face of the current situation of skyrocketing prices and scarcity. She advocates rethinking crops that were abandoned such as corn and fodder due to the impossibility of competing on prices with other suppliers from Southeast Asia.

Delgado proposes "crop rotation" and maximum use. Regarding the feeding of animals, he proposes to return to practices such as grazing. "Either something is done or livestock on the islands disappears," says Delgado, who points out that all stabled livestock on the islands are fed with products from outside. He also proposes "updating prices" for REA aid for transport and POSEI for fodder.

The president of Asaga-Asaja, Ángela Delgado, advocates taking measures so that the cattle of the islands can be fed internally, without depending so much on imported fodder. For now there is no problem with the supply of feed because ships continue to arrive but, due to the loss of production in Ukraine, it is not known what may happen in the coming weeks. “This same week a ship arrived with three million kilos but we run the risk that they will stop exporting us. We are a small destination that does not matter. The situation is complicated by the ultra-periphery”, says Delgado, who also points out the problem of high prices.

The representative of the Canarian farmers, Rafael Hernández, explained that the average cost of animal feed before Russia's invasion of Ukraine had increased by 45% and is currently around 75%. As an example, he indicated that a cow eats about 25 kilograms of feed daily, which causes the price increase to make the business "unsustainable."

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