The Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, said on October 15 that the future Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) will also have a "Mediterranean accent". He hopes that the ministers of the European Union (EU) will reach an agreement next week, so that afterwards the three-way negotiation between the European Council, the Commission and Parliament can begin.
Planas paid a visit to the Region of Valencia, where he met with regional president Ximo Puig, to analyze the state of the CAP negotiations and the situation of the citrus sector. They also addressed the importance of the cooperative world in the autonomous region, the second most important in terms of turnover in Spain.
With regard to the CAP, he highlighted the possibility of the fruit and vegetable sector being included in the direct aid of the first pillar, which represents a very significant step forward for Mediterranean producers.
Another element that will reinforce the Mediterranean character of the new CAP is the fact that in the new regulations, the operational programs for fruit and vegetables will not have a prior budget ceiling.
It will also offer flexibility to design specific measures that respond to the unique needs of each productive area, and which were identified in a study carried out before the drafting of the national strategic plan.
He assured that political decisions will be adopted in a coordinated and participatory manner with the autonomous governments, since the Ministry is aware of the peculiarities and characteristics of each territory.
In the case of the Region of Valencia, Planas has highlighted the importance of part-time agriculture, for which a simple, but effective small-farmer regime has been envisaged.
The Minister also reported that seven autonomous regions will begin to pay the CAP advances from October 16; an amount close to 2,000 million Euro. Of these, 31 million correspond to the Region of Valencia.
Regarding the start of the citrus campaign, he said that the forecasts point to a greater production, with about 6.93 million tons (5% higher than average and 12% more compared to the previous year's campaign), and stability in the prices.
He thus encouraged the sector to take advantage of the current situation to strengthen and diversify their markets. It is time to give a boost to citrus producer organizations and have a powerful interprofessional organization, he stressed, referring to Intercitrus.