In the face of the crisis generated by COVID-19, the Valencian Association of Agricultural Producers (AVA-ASAJA) is asking the Government of Spain to lead a common front within the European Union (EU) to try to normalize the diplomatic relations with Russia, and thus recover a crucial market which has been closed to some agro-food productions, including fruit and vegetables, for more than five years.
Although this has been requested since the introduction of the Russian veto in August 2014, the president of AVA-ASAJA, Cristóbal Aguado, believes that “now is an especially appropriate time to find a diplomatic solution, given the serious disruptions that COVID-19 has been causing on food consumption in all countries affected by the pandemic, including Russia. It is time to turn a new leaf on both the EU and Russia. Situations as exceptional as the COVID-19 crisis should help us ignore our differences and allow us to see what's truly important."
This is the same position that the organization ASAJA defends at national level, and which is also defended by other producer associations in Belgium or the Netherlands, which have also approached their respective governments in order to demand the necessary steps and resume fruit and vegetable trade with Russia. "Spain certainly has reasons to join, and even to lead, the movement to lift the Russian veto and regain access to a market that is more necessary than ever," said Aguado.
This trade blockade, decreed as a result of sanctions by the United States and the EU against Russia due to the conflict with Ukraine, has caused millions in losses to Valencia's fruit and vegetable sector. In addition to citrus and vegetables, kakis are one of the most affected crops, with prices at origin having dropped by more than 40% in this period. Meanwhile, other countries, such as Egypt, Turkey or Morocco, have taken advantage of this situation to replace the EU in the supply of fruit and vegetables to the Russian market.