The Canary 'Amazon' falters after taking GMR for three months without paying the company that manages it

The Canary 'Amazon' falters after taking GMR for three months without paying the company that manages it

The website launched by the Government of the Canary Islands in November 2022 to sell food products from the islands abroad and that was born peppered with controversy due to its high cost (1.4 million euros) and crazy merchandise prices, It staggers after the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, accumulates three months of non-payment to the UTE that is in charge of its management after having been awarded the contest.

Specifically, it is the public company Gestión del Medio Rural (GMR), whose CEO is Pablo Zurita, who has payments paralyzed December, January and February, at a rate of about 20,000 euros per month. In total, it is more than 60,000 euros that suffocate the joint venture that was awarded the tender and made up of the companies Fresh Commerce Solutions and Arcos Comunicaciones.

  • Tirma coffee.
    On the Canarian website, the 250-gram package costs 3.56 euros, which skyrockets to 8.5 with shipping.

  • Pajonales cheese.
    The 250-gram wedge costs 5.84 euros, which rises to 14.15 euros with shipping costs.

  • Tropical Beer.
    Six 250 cl bottles of Pilsen Tropical cost 9.15 euros. With shipping they come out for 14.40.

Both are in charge of the website and they look right now suffocated and with little capacity to be able to face the payments, including logistics and transport, in addition to suppliers, according to sources close to them. In total, more than 30,000 euros, according to close sources.

The two companies, well known in the field of e-commerce and logistics and with extensive experience, are not going to default on their obligations, according to sources close to them, who point out that their owners They are considering going to a credit policy to plug the government hole. At the time they already have the matter in the hands of a lawyer to file a requirement. «They are giving them long. They call the Counseling and GMR and Pablo Zurita assures them that he is about to sign but they have been like this for three months. In the end it will be the Government itself that loads this instrument that can be powerful but needs time, "these sources indicate. The fear of the UTE is also the proximity of the elections and the paralysis of the administration, which can delay payments 'sine die'.

Non-payment is not the only problem that the UTE has with the Government. Since the project began, they have not stopped suffering from Zurita's "demands" and pressure, according to these sources. Among other things, they have been penalized for not including the expiration dates of the products on the website, as stated in the specifications, despite the fact that there is a European directive that exempts them from this obligation. They are also being sanctioned because they do not market products with the United Kingdom, something that cannot be done since 'Brexit' as it is a third country. Not even the giant Amazon does. However, the documents included this in their day, when the current status was being negotiated.

At the start of the project there were also problems that were about to break the relationship between the UTE and the Government. The UTE proposed a management model for Canarian products through a deposit for which the merchandise was paid to the producer once sold. However, Zurita forced another to buy the merchandise before selling it, something that today forces the UTE to have treasury and assume losses if the product has not been sold and expires. Up to 80,000 euros, these sources estimate, the UTE has in products stored and waiting to be sold. "If the project is not supported, it can fall", warn these sources, who although they admit that the volume of sales of the web is low -10,000 euros per month-, they consider that with time better figures and prices for transport and transport will be achieved. logistics to the peninsula.

In March he invoiced 10,700 euros

Five months after its official presentation, the website for the sale of Canarian agri-food products abroad promoted by the Government of the Canary Islands -Canarian Market-, yields meager results.

In March the website sold 1,550 products and made 151 sales tickets, with a turnover of 10,700 euros. These figures are not very good if one takes into account that the project has a public budget of 1.4 million euros for the next five years.

Close sources assure that the objective pursued is complicated due to the strong competition from web pages and the Difficulty in gaining a foothold in the market but they trust that it will be achieved. This is how they estimate it according to the evolution of sales since the project started. Thus, while 7,743 euros were billed in November, the amount has increased to 10,701 euros in March.

However, some of the 88 producers who sell their products on the web and consulted by CANARIAS7 have serious doubts due to the slow pace of sales and their high prices. "The day the public subsidy ends I have serious doubts that they can continue and be a profitable website," these sources indicate.

A cheese supplier complains about his product "suffering" on the Canarian website a 40% commission while on another peninsular page the extra cost is 5%. This producer has invoiced in the first quarter of this year with Canarian Market zero euros while with the peninsular website it has been 1,000 euros. "It's not operational. I doubt that it will ever work well," they say.

The producers consulted advocate promoting and developing the sales platform that exists in Madrid and that works "perfectly", with the only problem that the Government does not provide it with the means.