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Indignation in Extremadura at exclusion of plums from withdrawal quotas
The head of Extremadura's Council for the Environment, Rural and Agrarian Policies and Territory, Begoña García Bernal, reported that there is great indignation amongst stonefruit growers in the region because of the "discriminatory treatment" to plums on the part of the central Government. The fact is that the European Commission, at the request of the Ministry of Agriculture, has expanded the market withdrawal quota for stonefruit by 19,500 tonnes. The objective behind withdrawing this surplus is to push prices up, but growers in Extremadura have criticised the measure because the quota does not include plums (only peaches and nectarines). The problem is that the region accounts for 80% of this fruit's national production, so it won't be able to benefit from the aid," stressed Bernal.
"Plums have inexplicably been left out of this withdrawal program," insisted the Councillor, adding that since the introduction of the Russian veto on fruit imports (as a result of the Ukrainian crisis), the sector has endured "serious structural problems in the face of the passivity of the central government."
Visit to Afruex
The Councillor expressed her criticism after a meeting held this week with the Association of Fruit Growers of Extremadura (Afruex) in Valdelacalzada. Its president, Atanasio Naranjo, said he was disappointed by the Ministry and lamented the lack of aid in such a difficult year.
García Bernal also took advantage of her visit to Afruex to highlight that "her Council has already implemented the measures it is able to enforce from its sphere of influence, such as a Strategic Fruit Plan (which aims for the campaign to last for up to 11 months with the incorporation of new varieties) agreed with the sector, which includes support measures in areas such as training, industrial incentives, health and marketing.
According to the Councillor, "ahead of the next campaign, we must work to open new markets (such as the Chinese for plums, where the goal is to exceed 900 tonnes in the second year of shipments) through agreements with third countries, and we must also organise campaigns to promote the consumption of stonefruit." She added that the Ministry will also be asked to carry out plantation restructuring and production control measures.
The Government of Extremadura believes that the central Government should work together with fruit growers to elaborate a national strategic plan for the fruit.
Publication date: 8/30/2017
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