After the Europeans, the Spanish peasants began a series of protests that manifested themselves with roadblocks throughout Spain.
Farmers and ranchers consider having systematic non-compliance with the law in the food chain, a regulation approved in December 2021 that seeks, among other things, to value rural activity and food and, in the process, for producers to achieve prices that allow them to cover production costs. “The ministry must begin by setting the criteria to know these production costs and ensure that the prices that we farmers receive, the price of origin, will give us enough to live,” said the defense of the union Unió de Pagesos (UP). The Food Information and Control Agency (AICA) should work with the ex officio inspection in situations of “abnormally low prices, as is the case now for lemons,” added the organizers of the mobilizations.
The sector demanded “more direct and proactive” support for diesel for agricultural use. The demand is that the discount, which has been extended in Spain since January 1, will be implemented at the supply point “as is done in the post-COVID period for all citizens,” insist those affected, instead of the current system, which consists of a tax reduction at the end of the year, if the annual cost is presented. As the government agreed in December, for agricultural and livestock activities, to compensate for the increase in the cost of some inputs, it was established for the 2024 tax season that the previous net harvest. can be reduced by 35% on the purchase of diesel agricultural and 15% on the purchase price of fertilizers.
The administration must address the unfair import competition that does not meet the same conditions required for the production of member countries of the European Union. Farmers protest. “We work in a deregulated market, which means important agricultural products from third countries are sold at low prices, which puts downward pressure on Spanish prices,” they criticized. “These non-EU products do not comply with internal EU regulations and represent a contradiction and hypocrisy in European political action. “There is unfair competition that puts a check on the viability of thousands of farms in Spain and Europe, “they added. Among the countries that most threaten Spanish agriculture are, for example, Morocco, with preferential treatment of Europe. “With the supervision of the European Commission, it controls the Moroccan border to guarantee that the agricultural products imported from that country comply with the internal regulations of the EU and the tariff values established in the free trade agreement,” they requested. review or non-renewal of agreements with major competitors such as New Zealand, Chile, Mexico, Kenya, and India.
In Catalonia and Andalusia, the protests included a specific complaint about the effects of the drought. The Unió de Pagesos demands that the Generalitat pay for the aid made to last year’s drought in the cereal and herbaceous sectors so that the farmer can assume the cost of seed, diesel, applying manure, fertilizing the land, and sowing. the Andalusian producersFor their part, they demand the urgent improvement of the hydraulic infrastructure, which causes “50% of the water restrictions suffered by farmers in provinces like Huelva.”
Farmers, especially those who see how extreme weather events reduce their crops, ask for a reform of agricultural insurance to provide better coverage for the new conditions created by climate change. “You have to recover a strengthened budget for agricultural insurance to adapt it to the structural situation represented by droughts and adverse meteorological events, more severe and recurring due to climate change”, continued the unions that called the protests The Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, assured, in his parliamentary appearance this week, to answer “a adaptation of the rural insurance system,” but does not specify budget allocations or implementation deadlines.
“We request flexibility and simplification of the existing CAP because excessive bureaucracy involves unreimbursable costs for professional farmers and ranchers and it is not possible to achieve environmental objectives,” asked most unions. digital exploitation notebook”, one of the tools that, paradoxically, the ministry is most proud of. They also point to autonomous communities, which called for urgent reforms to “streamline bureaucratic procedures that are suffocating professionals in the field.” Reducing the bureaucratic burden will facilitate the collection of aid, which is currently received with considerable delays.
Currently, the European Commission has responded to the request of the French countryside to withdraw within a year the rules of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that force farmers to keep some soil from drying out, a measure that sowed discontent, especially in France. For Spanish farmers, this is not a priority because other plants, such as herbaceous crops and cereals, leave the soil without time for a long time to benefit from the CAP. It also agreed to introduce limits on the extension of free trade in Ukraine in an attempt to appease the farmers of eastern countries, who are subject to strong competition. Another demand of the French farmers, the review of the free trade agreement with Mercosur, presents advantages and disadvantages for Spanish producers. On the one hand, it provides a small facility for the export of some products, such as agri-food, but on the other hand, it is guaranteed that they will continue in other sectors that are more protected, such as livestock and citrus fruits.