Olive Growers Demand In Madrid Mechanisms To Alleviate The "tremendous Crisis" Of The Sector

Thousands of Spanish olive growers, supported by agricultural organizations and cooperatives, are protesting today about the low prices at the origin of the oil – with each one 44% in the last year – and the consequences that Brexit and the new tariffs can have for the sector. announced by the USA.

The olive sector, represented by Asaja, COAG, UPA and Cooperatives Agroalimentarias, has manifested today in Madrid to denounce the "tremendous crisis" that more than 250,000 families of producers go through for the losses they endure in the face of low prices of olive oil in origin and before the proposal of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, to impose tariffs of 25% on agricultural products, among them olive oil.

More than 10,000 olive growers from Andaluca, Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha, Aragn, Valencian Community, Murcia, La Rioja and Catalua, have traveled the streets of the capital, destined at the gates of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, under the slogan Fair prices for a live olive grove to claim a package of measures that reactivate the low prices at origin and guarantee a "decent" future for traditional olive groves.

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Protesters have carried banners with slogans such as "250,000 families severely affected," "U.S.A. abuses," "Fair Prices!" or "greased governments", while showing olive branches to denounce the bad state of the sector. They have also stressed that this demonstration has been made for politicians to act and see the "ruinous" state in which the field is located.

Prices at origin

Although Spain is the leading producer of olive oil worldwide, it has the lowest origin prices in the European Union, even reaching below production costs (the weighted average cost of oil production Olive oil in Spain, according to the International Olive Council, was already established in 2015 at 2.75 euros per kilo of oil on average).

The president of Asaja, Pedro Barato, has affirmed that the olive grove sector is going through a "tremendous crisis" and that it is time to act, so that the political will see the light in storage and in self-regulation.

"It is very fashionable to make decrees laws for many things, and we also demand a decree law: that you cannot sell a product that is made in the field below the value at which it costs us to produce it," he added.

For his part, the president of the olive oil sector of agri-food cooperatives, Rafael Snchez Puerta, has valued the union of the sector in the demonstration, since the year is being "very complicated" in terms of prices, so they are needed agencies to adapt supply and demand.

With respect to the tariffs of the United States, Snchez Puerta has indicated that they complicate the situation more, since it is a country in which more than 200 million kilos of agrifood products are sold, which means a "lethal" loss for the sector and it shows the disadvantage of Spain compared to other European countries.

Prices fall 26% in 2018

The sector claims that in 2018 there was one of 26% of prices, at an average of 3.53 euros per kilo, according to data from the Observatory of Prices and Markets of the Andalusian Ministry of Agriculture, and the downward trend has continued during 2019, to stand at 44% less (from 3.53 euros per kilo in June 2018 at prices below the current two euros per kilo, below production costs, 2.75 euros per kilo), in an international context of lower production, mainly in non-EU countries.

Protesters have demanded regulatory instruments in the market so that they "do not get ruined" at times of price declines, as well as excessive increases that the consumer cannot afford.

The secretary general of COAG, Miguel Blanco, has denounced that in the last campaign the olive growers have been removed more than 1,000 million euros, because "the packaging industry speculates on prices for their own interests, manipulating prices and amounts without control by the Public Administration. "

To all this, according to the sector, the unfair commercial practices of the distribution chains that use olive oil as a claim product are added, "throwing away the image of a product of excellence and contributing to the downward trend of prices".

"This situation threatens the viability of traditional olive farms and puts at risk the way of life of more than 250,000 families and hundreds of municipalities that live directly and indirectly from this crop," they have denounced.

The cultivation area dedicated to olive groves in Spain rises to 2.6 million hectares, distributed in more than 400,000 farms. This crop maintains 15,000 jobs in the industry and generates more than 50 million wages per campaign.

Planas shares the concern about the anomalous evolution of prices

The acting Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, has said he understands the "concern" of the olive sector and shares "the concern about the anomalous evolution of prices in this campaign."

Therefore – he has continued – "we have been working with the agri-food cooperatives of Spain so that a self-regulation can be produced, authorized by the European Union, so that this slide effect of rising and falling prices depending on the quantitative evolution of the campaigns ".

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