The symbolic image of tractors disinfecting the streets against COVID-19 in Valencian towns is gradually becoming rarer as the de-escalation process continues. The Valencian Association of Agricultural Producers (AVA-ASAJA) estimates that nearly a thousand producers have voluntarily and altruistically taken part in these disinfection efforts to keep the streets of over a hundred municipalities as clean and safe as possible.
The campaign has been coordinated by the municipalities through the local agrarian councils, together with AVA-ASAJA, other professional agricultural organizations, cooperatives, irrigation communities and other entities who wished to help at the most critical moments of the expansion of COVID-19. At a national level, ASAJA has implemented this initiative in many autonomous regions.
The president of AVA-ASAJA, Cristóbal Aguado, says that “we, agricultural producers, are showing our most supportive side in this health emergency. In addition to working hard to guarantee the food supply, we have not hesitated to lend a hand in preventing the spread of the pandemic and collaborated to support the most vulnerable families. We have gone from demonstrating to protest against low profitability to taking out our tractors to help society, and that commitment should lead to decent prices and social recognition.”
In most Valencian towns, the agricultural sector has already stopped undertaking disinfection tasks to avoid inconvenience to people during their evening walks. In many of these cases, the councils have replaced the agricultural producers with municipal services or private companies that carry out the disinfection tasks in a more localized way. In the towns where the tasks are still carried out by agricultural producers, they have decided to start later, after 11 pm.
Aguado says that “people have shown us their appreciation. Now that the virus situation seems to be more under control and people are leaving their homes more often and that there's more work to do in the fields, we believe it is the time to stop, but we we want everyone to know that we will be there when necessary.”