Last Thursday, the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, held a meeting by video conference with the regional Councillors of Agriculture in order to analyze the consequences of the coronavirus in the agricultural sector.
The meeting served to highlight the solidarity and the need for collaboration between all the administrations. The Minister said that "we are facing a national emergency; a public health emergency," and that "we are going to get out of this situation by working together."
He reiterated that the supply of food to citizens is one of the Government's priorities and that it is guaranteed, as President Pedro Sánchez already said.
Recognition of the work carried out by the entire sector
The Minister praised the sector's response, as well as the work and sacrifice of the producers, workers and entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector, including distributors, in the face of this unprecedented health crisis.
He highlighted the good functioning and active collaboration of all the links in the chain in order to guarantee the supply.
The agricultural sector is considered to be strategic, in accordance with Article 15 of Royal Decree 463/2020, which declared the state of alarm, and which establishes that the authorities will adopt the necessary measures to guarantee food supply.
Along these lines, the Minister assured that the retail trade associated with agricultural activities, which supplies the sector with inputs (seeds, fertilisers, etc.), will continue to provide the necessary and essential raw materials for its proper development.
Regarding the doubts raised by most of the autonomous regions on the transport of workers, the Minister explained that he is in contact with the heads of Health, Interior and Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda to seek a solution, stressing that the limitations aim for public health protection.
He also told the autonomous regions that the deadline to apply for CAP subsidies will be extended until June 15th to give the sector greater peace of mind.
He also announced the holding of a Sectoral Conference in April to territorialize the funds, especially those related to rural development.
Maximum government support for the sector
As a result of the closure of hotel and restaurant establishments to deal with the pandemic, the Minister said that some agricultural sectors have been experiencing difficulties due to a decline in the demand and that the situation is being monitored.
To make an accurate diagnosis and find critical points, the Ministry is in daily contact with professional agricultural organizations, wholesale supply markets, industry and agro-food cooperatives, as well as food logistics and distribution firms.