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Farmers protests in Spain: What are they asking for and why are they cutting off the roads?


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Farmers protests in Spain: What are they asking for and why are they cutting off the roads?

MADRID, Feb. 6 (EUROPA PRESS) - The main roads and regional roads in Spain have been collapsed this Tuesday due to the protests that farmers and ranchers have carried out with mobilizations and tractor units to defend the Spanish countryside and that will continue in the coming weeks .

The Agrarian Association of Young Farmers (Asaja), the Coordinator of Farmers and Ranchers Organizations (COAG) and the Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers (UPA) ask that an "ambitious" shock plan be drawn up that includes measures both at the European level , as well as by the Government of Spain and the autonomous communities.

Agricultural organizations demand immediate solutions from the central Executive to address rural problems related to the consequences of the drought and war in Ukraine, prices and production costs, the simplification and flexibility of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union, as well as labor and Social Security issues.

- Excessive CAP bureaucracy

They consider that the application of the CAP involves too much bureaucracy and that this generates "unaffordable" costs for farmers and ranchers which, in addition, do not allow environmental objectives to be met. Therefore, they ask to make this European policy more flexible and simple.

Specifically, they mention ecoschemes, through which farmers can receive direct payments as an incentive to adopt practices beneficial for the climate and the environment, and Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (BCAM), obligations that beneficiaries must comply with. of the CAP so as not to see their aid reduced.

One of the most repeated complaints by farmers and ranchers is that they feel "suffocated" by the regulations and that these are often designed behind the agrarian reality, which is why they ask the Government to forward their request for dialogue to the European Commission. .

The problem of excessive bureaucracy also exists in matters that are part of the powers of the autonomous communities, according to agricultural organizations, which call for urgent reforms in order to simplify procedures.

- Competition from imported agricultural products

The organizations regret that agricultural products are imported from countries outside the European Union that do not comply with community standards and that, with their low prices, put downward pressure on the prices of those produced in Spain and the rest of the EU. In his opinion, this represents unfair competition that threatens the viability of many agricultural farms.

To tackle this problem, they ask that the negotiations of free trade agreements such as Mercosur (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) be paralyzed, that the agreement with New Zealand not be ratified and that the talks with Chile be paralyzed. Kenya, Mexico, India and Australia.

They also demand that the Government of Spain, with the supervision of the European Commission, increase controls on the border with Morocco to guarantee that agricultural products imported from this country comply with the internal regulations of the EU and the tariff amounts established in the free trade agreement.

In his opinion, it is vital to recover the community preference, a basic principle of the CAP that seeks to protect European products from foreign competition.

Another demand is that the Ministry of Agriculture creates an observatory on imports and reinforces the battle in Brussels to demand reciprocity through mirror clauses.

These clauses imply that agricultural and livestock products entering the EU territory must meet the same environmental, health, animal welfare or phytosanitary requirements as those established in the EU.

- Low sales prices of agricultural products

Agricultural organizations believe that in some cases farmers and ranchers in Spain have to sell their products at prices so low that they do not cover production costs, while supermarkets then offer these products to the final consumer at abusive prices.

Faced with this problem, they request that the Food Chain Law be strengthened to prohibit unfair practices and that, in this way, farmers' prices cover production costs.

Likewise, they see it necessary for the Food Information and Control Agency to apply economic sanctions more in line with the infringement submitted and to expand its control resources.

- Generational relief in the field

The sector is concerned about the issue of generational change in the countryside and, to guarantee this, they see it necessary to encourage the incorporation of young people. For example, ensuring the necessary budget for this, stopping speculation and the purchase of land by investment funds and other agents outside the agricultural sector and facilitating access to land for young people and new farmers.

- Animal health policies

Livestock farmers claim to suffer the consequences of the partisan struggle to which animal health issues have sometimes been the subject in Spain. Faced with this, they demand a coordinated, serious and coherent animal health policy that helps professionals in the field.