The repercussions of the pandemic for Spain's economic activity could be long-lasting, says COAG general secretary Miguel Blanco. He expects an unprecedented crisis during the next three years.
According to Blanco, what is looming for the agricultural sector is "not a new normal, but a harsh reality," because this health crisis will be chronic for a long time, even if there is a vaccine."
The COAG secretary also predicts that there will be "reductions and changes in consumption" and exporting will be "very difficult" due to the international context marked by the pandemic. Blanco also foresees greater volatility in the markets, more speculation, as well as problems in the transition to, for example, more sustainable systems, especially among small producers.
He also fears that the "large investment funds" that are already taking control of the primary sector worldwide will continue to expand, as "they have not been constrained" during this crisis. "They see the field as a present and future business. They are setting their sights on large farms and pushing away the concept of social economy," he says.
From his point of view, society needs agrarian structures that are sustainable because "what needs to be guaranteed is food security and sovereignty."
For this reason, he believes that in the new post-COVID-19 world, producers will have to “further strengthen the fight” to defend said sovereignty within the European Union's common market.
He also considers it advisable to review trade agreements in order to better control imports, to call for greater regulation of the food chain and to strengthen the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Looking back on these months, Blanco is convinced that "if the pandemic were to return," the agricultural sector will have to react "in the same way, with all the added experience we already have."
According to him, the primary sector has shown to be “vital” for society as a whole at a global level, since the food supply depends on it.
Also, he appreciates its ability to keep its production chain active, despite the difficulties caused by a health crisis of this magnitude.
Blanco, however, regrets how, for the time being, this has not translated into an improvement in the income and profitability of producers, which remain "very low."