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Spain: Agro-food sector calls protests off to protect its reputation in the EU
The relations with large chains and distribution centres have a lot to do with the decision of the agro-food sector to call off the protests that had been planned for 1 February against the urgent measures for the Mar Menor. A leader of the irrigators said that the sector is now more cool-headed and has consequently toned down its message, because there is much at stake in the European markets. The producers, exporters, cooperative members and agricultural unions want to avoid passing on a wrong message of their position on the regeneration plans for the salty lagoon. Furthermore, they feel they are being attacked with discrediting tactics.
They want to take care of the goose that lays the golden eggs, while making sure that the environmental values of the lagoon, agriculture and tourism remain compatible, but they want to prevent the risk of the protest turning against them. Although they don't like some points of the decree, they also know that the European markets won't understand why fruit and vegetable producers stand against the introduction of environmental measures aimed at the recovery of the ecosystem. This has been debated within the sector in recent days. Some distribution chains have requested information on the origin of the water and its quality, as well as on production acreage. Also, competitors from other regions are always on the prowl trying to take advantage of the lack of water in Murcia.
After Fecoam and Coag parted ways, the Community of Irrigators of Campo de Cartagena (CRCC) met yesterday with associations and agrarian organizations and announced the cancellation of the protests. It justified this decision with the argument that the protest could cause a "social fracture" between agricultural producers and the rest of society due to the "irresponsible campaign" that, in his opinion, has been carried out against the sector in recent days. The irrigators stressed that it is necessary to adopt measures to protect the Mar Menor, but warned that the decree and the amendments proposed will fail in their objectives "without new infrastructure, a comprehensive law in the lagoon and quality water for irrigation." The irrigators have noticed a "radicalization of certain sectors against agriculture," and believe that the social fracture that may arise between the sector and the rest of society "would show a distorted picture." Also, the CRCC rejected the wording of the text, "which is riddled with inaccuracies that introduce legal and administrative insecurity."
Publication date: 2/5/2018
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