The Canary Islands asks the EU for a moratorium for farmers affected by the La Palma volcano

A parenthesis. Is what the Canary Islands Government has asked the European Union (EU) to prevent the bankruptcy of many of the farmers and ranchers affected by the eruption of the volcano on La Palma. The regional Executive, through the Cabinet of Pedro Sanchez –The interlocutors in Brussels are the Member States–, has requested that the requirements and conditions for receiving community aid are made more flexible. The Program of Specific Options for Remoteness and Insularity, best known by the acronym Posei – the specific plan of aid to the primary sector of the outermost regions -, links the greater or lesser volume of subsidies to the greater or lesser volume of production and / or marketing. Much as other, both production and marketing will be significantly reduced this year due to the volcano, which has damaged, if not directly buried under lava, thousands of hectares of banana trees and other crops. So if the Posei regulations are applied sensu stricto, the farmers and ranchers affected by the eruption will not only have lost their farms, but will also lose community aid and thus reduce their chances of recovering the activity.

Free way of the State to undertake emergency works that guarantee the water supply


Faced with this “true risk”, as the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the Canary Islands Government, Alicia Vanoostende, acknowledged yesterday in the plenary session of Parliament, the department has already moved token so that this “significant loss of production” does not mean a no less important loss of aid. Vanoostende, which is in permanent contact and has the support of the minister of the sector, Luis Planas, has already submitted a proposal to the community authorities to activate the safeguard due to force majeure and not take into account the fall of the production and marketing –which will continue until the reestablishment of the insular primary sector, that is, at least until 2023– in the distribution of subsidies. “The objective is that all aid be maintained despite the losses suffered,” insisted the counselor.

In addition, Alicia Vanoostende announced that a five-year margin will also be requested to resume activity. Farmers would thus have five years ahead of them to be able to fully reestablish their farms without losing some aid that in many cases sustains the business.

In addition, the Council of Ministers yesterday gave a free pass to process emergency works and works for the supply of water for irrigation and other uses in the area affected by the eruption for a maximum amount of four million euros and an estimated duration of two months. The works, which have already started in El Remo, Puerto Naos and La Bombilla, consist of the installation of mobile desalination plants in the port of Tazacorte; the transport of desalinated water and other sources between the port of Tazacorte and the coast of Puerto Naos; and the impulsion of the water between the coast of Puerto Naos and the Cuatro Caminos raft.

The volcano has left some 600 hectares of banana trees without a water supply for irrigation. Irrigation is through a series of channels that go from north to south. On October 2, 2021, a water line broke in the El Remo area and there is no possibility of repairing it. This failure means that the 600 hectares of banana trees are currently completely unsupplied.

The definitive replacement of the supply will be done through the construction of an alternative conduction from the south of the island to the Cuatro Caminos reservoir, in such a way that a water ring is created on the island.

Given that this conduction cannot be undertaken immediately, it is necessary to put in place the extraordinary and emergency measures authorized to supply the affected areas that currently do not have the possibility of supplying water resources.

75 new homes before the end of the year

The Minister of Public Works, Transport and Housing of the Government of the Canary Islands, Sebastián Franquis, announced yesterday that the regional Executive will buy 75 new houses by the end of the year to make them available to the victims of the eruption in La Palma. Franquis explained that the acquisition of 46 of those 75 properties will be closed in the next few days and that the remaining 29 will be purchased throughout December. In response to a question from the PP deputy Lorena Hernández Labrador, the representative of the autonomous government recalled that these houses will be added to the 18 already acquired. In addition, Franquis explained that the delivery of the first homes in the municipalities of Tazacorte and Fuencaliente has already begun, as well as the procedures for the acquisition of prefabricated houses, which will be installed as the municipalities enable and implement Government disposition of the land. In any case, the socialist insisted that this is a temporary solution until the reconstruction of the affected areas. | M.Á.M.


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