The reactivation of Valencian onion and potato purchases from large retail chains, which until now had imported goods on offer, has coincided with the call for protests from producers over the disastrous market situation for both products.
Back in April, the region's agrarian organizations already denounced the unreasonableness of the massive import of onions from Peru, New Zealand and the Netherlands at high prices, given that the start of the harvest was around the corner in Valencia. They warned that such a strategy would have a very clear consequence: the sinking of prices of the domestic harvest, which is what eventually happened. In fact, the drop in the prices of both products has forced many growers to destroy their productions or sell it without fixed prices, which is illegal.
At the time, the Association of Supermarkets of the Region of Valencia (Asucova) received such complaints with displeasure and its spokesperson, Pedro Reig, said that it had been necessary to import because there was less local production and supermarket chains needed to ensure a normal supply to consumers. Consequently, he criticized the accusations from the agrarian organizations, considering them "disproportionate and unsupportive."
Now that the imported goods bought at expensive prices are running out and that the Valencian market is in a dire situation, purchases have been resumed, although producers are offered just 6 or 7 cents per kilo for their onions and between 8 and 13 cents for their potatoes. Both these prices stand well below the production costs, which goes against what is established by agro-food chain regulations.
Producers are not the only harmed party. Consumers have been forced to pay high prices (1.25-1.80 Euro per kilo) for imported onions and potatoes, when crops were being left abandoned in neighboring fields without any competent authority doing anything about it.
In view of this situation, AVA-Asaja and Unió de Llauradors have called for protests to be held before the headquarters of the Council of Agriculture on June 26.