The Valencian Association of Agricultural Producers (AVA-ASAJA) has asked the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture “to stop announcing the making of more and more studies on the value chain and to apply the reform of the Food Chain Law once and for all, establishing effective production costs for our agricultural productions and using them as an official reference in the contracts, so that growers stop receiving below cost prices.”
Following a statement from the Secretary General of Agriculture, Fernando Miranda, in which he promised "progress in the carrying out of studies of the value chain of different foods," including citrus fruits, AVA-ASAJA responded that a recent study already estimated the average production costs of citrus fruits in Spain at 0.23 Euro per kilo (€ / kg) in the case of oranges (Navelina and Lanelate varieties), 0.28 € / kg in that of mandarins (clementines) and € 0.20 / kg in that of lemons (Fino and Verna). This was the conclusion of Pedro Caballero and María Ángeles Fernández-Zamudio, researchers from the Valencian Institute of Agrarian Research (IVIA), and of María Dolores de Miguel, researcher from the Polytechnic University of Cartagena, in their report ‘Regression or continuity of the citrus sector. Function of costs' included in the monograph 'A roadmap for Spanish citrus farming' published by Cajamar.
The president of AVA-ASAJA, Cristóbal Aguado, said that “the Ministry of Agriculture is already well aware of our profitability problems. It already has a law in the BOE; it already has recent technical studies on effective production costs, but it has stopped there and prefers not to get to the bottom of the matter. It should be setting some minimal reference costs and strictly forbidding the prices agreed with commercial operators from falling below them. Without decent prices, more fields will be left uncultivated, environmental strategies will fail, because we will lose a fundamental sector for the care of the territory, and our food production self-sufficiency, which has shown to be very important during this pandemic, will be in serious jeopardy.”
Aguado said that “in addition to closely monitoring the development of effective production costs in each link of the value chain, it is necessary for the Ministry to exhaustively monitor this law and detect any weaknesses to rectify them and turn them into strengths through regulatory updates.”
Lastly, the agrarian organization said that its technical services are available to producers to advise and help them when reporting possible abusive practices to the Food Information and Control Agency (AICA) and, where appropriate, impose the corresponding sanctions.
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