The Spanish firm Frutas Hermanos Catalá Benicolet, better known as Fruterca, based in the Valencian municipality of Palma de Gandía, has filed for bankruptcy with a liability of some 6 million Euro and debts of different amounts owed to more than 300 agricultural producers. The latter had sold Fruterca their crops, mainly citrus fruits, and now they are unable to receive what they are owed. Likewise,, a hundred workers of the firm itself are demanding to be paid their salaries.
The legal services of the Valencian Association of Agricultural Producers (AVA-ASAJA) are already representing about thirty of the growers who are owed money by Fruterca. At this time, the lawyers of the agrarian organization are studying the possibility of getting the case transferred from a civil to a criminal court through the filing of a complaint to claim criminal liability to the society's administrators, considering that Fruterca was already in a very delicate economic situation in 2017, but continued negotiating citrus purchases and issuing promissory notes.
Although Fruterca's bankruptcy is particularly striking due to the global amount of the debt and the high number of people affected, it is not, unfortunately, the only one currently being processed in Valencia. AVA-ASAJA is aware of at least six other horticultural companies which have been involved in similar procedures, having also accumulated huge amounts of debt.
AVA-ASAJA already warned last January about the disproportionate increase in the number of lawsuits presented before the courts by citrus growers due to the consequences of the severe citrus crisis that has marked the development of the campaign.
The president of AVA-ASAJA, Cristóbal Aguado, is unhappy about "Valencia's citrus sector currently going through this situation," but encourages those affected by such circumstances to go to court "to claim what belongs to them" and urges the courts of justice "to act with maximum speed and efficiency, so that producers can be compensated as they deserve."