The re-labeling of crops is fueling the anger of Almeria-based agricultural producers, as it affects the profitability of their productions. Given the accusations that the agricultural entrepreneurs of the province are the ones setting up crops in Morocco and other North African countries, Andrés Góngora, Coag's national secretary for the Fruit and Vegetable sector, is blunt: “Those who produce in Morocco and then bring their vegetables here to sell them as local produce are not agricultural producers, but scoundrels who are gambling with the bread of our children and ruining thousands of families.”
At the core of the problem are both the price crisis and the reputation of Almeria's products, because according to Adoración Blanque, general secretary of Asaja, the practice of re-labeling and selling that produce as local “implies changes in the traceability, which is a breach of food safety regulations.”
And, of course, there are also pricing issues involved, as Almeria's tomatoes cost about 50 cents, while Moroccan tomatoes are sold for 16 to 20 cents; a price at origin against which Almería cannot compete.
Furthermore, Góngora also pointed out that in the latest campaign, 450 million kilos of tomatoes entered the EU, when only 318 million kilos are authorized.