On January 13, AVA-Asaja presented the Agricultural Balance of 2020; a year in which important capital operations have been carried out in the agricultural sector, and which have continued with the start of 2021. Thus, large investment companies have taken control of local firms, including citrus producers such as Fruxeresa and Llusar, or agri-food industries such as Eurocebollas and Alnut.
The president of the agrarian organization, Cristóbal Aguado, said that Spain's central government and the European Commission should "put a stop to" speculative operations from investment funds in the agricultural sector of the Region of Valencia. "Investment funds don't concern me as much if they are part of the sector, although there's a great on-going process of concentration and some corporations are focusing on citrus. Funds, according to Aguado, have one objective: to obtain the maximum profitability, and they don't really care much about the producers. That is why a European Food Chain Law is needed to avoid speculation," said the leader of AVA-Asaja.
These investment operations are taking place in a period when the agricultural sector is not going through the best of times in terms of profitability. In fact, Aguado described the campaign that has just ended as "historically disastrous," since, according to the report presented, it ended with total losses for agricultural and livestock farmers estimated at about 570 million Euro.
The most affected crops are stone fruits, kakis, almonds, vegetables, and flowers and ornamental plants. Even some citrus varieties have ended up with prices below the breakeven point. On the positive side, tropical fruits such as avocados and kiwifruit, as well as carob beans, have recorded price increases.
The main consequence of the profitability crisis is the growth of the uncultivated area. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the Region of Valencia has 1,335 hectares of uncultivated land, 0.83% more than in 2019.