Spain – Canary Islands

La Provincia: Brexit threatens to kill the tomato

The United Kingdom's exit from the European Union threatens to give the coup de grace to the Canarian fruit and vegetable export. In reality it is only the last, and very large, threat to a sector that lived its last days of glory in the mid-nineties.

Pests, EU agreements with third countries, non-compliance by the administrations of the aid scheme and even later revoked sentences have drawn a panic scenario in which an increasingly small group of producers still resists.

However, Brexit hit the current subsidy regime hard. Last year, 51,362.5 tons of tomatoes were exported from the Archipelago. According to data from the Federation of Fruit and Vegetable Exporters of Las Palmas (Fedex), 40.9% of them (21,007.2 tons) had the United Kingdom as their final destination.

Producers receive 15,000 euros for each hectare planted under the commitment to comply with innovation plans aimed at increasing production efficiency. In addition, more than three million euros are distributed annually to boost marketing, provided it is in EU countries.

Here the problems start, but they don't end. If we take these statistics, four out of ten euros destined to improve the penetration of tomato from the Islands in the foreign markets, would disappear.

To this loss of competitiveness, the absence of the subsidy of the Ministry of Development for the transport of the merchandise to the European continent would be added whenever the last stop is a Great Britain already outside the common project.

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