The Spanish Association of Distributors, Self-services and Supermarkets (Asedas) celebrates its Board of Territorial Organizations in La Palma. Representatives of this group, who held a working meeting yesterday in Los Cancajos (Breña Baja), have guaranteed the supply of products despite the difficulties caused by the flow of lava flows.
Tomás Barreto, president of the Association of Supermarkets of the Canary Islands, stressed that, in the first hours of the eruption, supermarkets were made available to the authorities so that the hundreds of evacuees did not lack food or hygiene products. In this sense, he indicated that in addition, with the passing of time and the evolution of lava flows, the supermarket companies once again demonstrated their “organizational strength, their ability to react, their vocation of public service and their proximity to the population ”, guaranteeing the supply and adapting its logistics processes to the specific circumstances due to the slowdown in transport from the port and the cuts in some sections of roads.
Barreto stressed that the objective was always to guarantee access to basic consumer goods, which required "great organizational work that, fortunately, we are demonstrating once again together with the island's agricultural sector," he said. The businessman insisted that we have shown that there is a basic job well done so that shortages do not occur, in which "all the operators have done the best we knew how so that the consumer had what he needed."
Barreto refers to the work carried out to meet the basic needs of the population, at a time when "many evacuees left their homes with what they were wearing." At that time, the businessman adds, it was necessary to provide food and clothing, even these food operators channeling the solidarity arrived internationally, reaching "immediately," he said, to those in need.
The president of the Association of Supermarkets of the Canary Islands emphasizes the fact that they have also contributed in solidarity to the generation of meals to be able to meet the demand of displaced people, emergency teams and even scientific personnel. All this, he pointed out, betting on zero kilometer products.
Tomás Barreto emphasized that this is a collaboration that they will maintain over time until the emergency ends, also demanding that they allow them to participate in the reconstruction and economic development of La Palma, "which is greatly affected by the significant loss of homes, territory and companies ».
On the table of the meeting of the associations of food operators from all over Spain, the situation of the outermost region of the Canary Islands was also put, which has not been a problem to guarantee the agri-food chain and the distribution of a varied and quality food, which They defend that it continues to be carried out with total normality thanks to the connectivity of the Island.
Alonso Fernández, General Secretary of Asuican, referred to the fact that the logistical connections and the advanced management of the assortment carried out by the companies "makes the supply not a problem", making it possible to respond to all the emergency situations that follow generating in La Palma.
Despite the good reaction capacity that the food sector has had, Barreto insisted on the need to strengthen the Border Inspection Points and Customs clearances in ports, which prevent fresh products from remaining waiting for the process of entry into the Island for up to three days. At that point he defended that "these products already come with guarantee certificates", so it seems easy for him that these checks can be carried out in advance.
Tomás Barreto also referred to the possibility of declaring a Public Service Obligation in the transport of goods with the Islands, alluding to the decline in banana exports in the coming months, which makes him fear that shipping companies will reduce their frequencies with the island of La Palma. For this, it will be necessary to redraft the decree of passenger OSP so that the goods are also included, indicating that he hopes that these negotiations "have results."
The associations gathered in La Palma claimed the need for the food sector, in general, and food distribution, in particular, to be declared essential for Spanish society. That is why they defend that beyond the commitment of the sector, they claim as very important for future challenges to have the legal capacity to protect critical infrastructures, as well as guarantee transport and security. Thus, the general director of Asedas, Ignacio García Magarzo, claimed that the food and food distribution sector was declared essential for the first time due to the covid-19 pandemic. "This consideration allowed entrepreneurs to act quickly and efficiently," he concluded.