AVA-ASAJA warns that to stop harvesting would cause losses to producers

Concern about the strike of citrus warehouses called in the Region of Valencia

The Valencian Association of Agricultural Producers (AVA-ASAJA) has expressed its concern about the announced strike of citrus warehouses from December 14 to 20, since this is happening at a crucial moment for the citrus campaign and could have a direct impact on the prices perceived by producers. These are in the weakest positions in the value chain and any increase in costs ends up having a negative impact on the final price they receive.

For this reason, the organization is asking for restraint and responsibility from the parties involved in these negotiations: the unions, on the one hand, and the Citrus Management Committee (an entity that brings private businesses together) and the Federation of Agrifood Cooperatives on the other.

The organization points out that in a globalized world, it is necessary to have flexible hours, always with a limit of 40 hours per week, since "large distributors could choose to purchase the product in other citrus areas with a greater supply of goods if we are not able to provide the service that is required of us."

AVA-ASAJA said to be concerned by the fact that the price of citrus fruits is set from the top of the value chain; that is, by large distributors, in such a way that all increases in costs affecting other links, like commercial operators, shippers or workers, are deducted from the final price charged by the producer.

"This constitutes a clear competitive disadvantage for the Valencian citrus sector," said the president of AVA-ASAJA, Cristóbal Aguado. "More and more fields are therefore abandoned due to lack of profitability. It should be recalled that all the links of the chain are fed by the orange sector, but unfortunately, producers are having serious difficulties to make a decent living from their harvests. At AVA-ASAJA, we are also aware of the rights of agricultural workers, and for this sector to work, it is necessary that the producer also receives fair compensation for the work and dedication of a whole year."

A perfect illustration of the serious economic difficulties suffered by Valencian growers devoted to citrus cultivation is the prices they currently receive for the Navelinas and clementines, since they don't even barely cover the production costs.

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