Hundreds of farmers called by the Union of Unions (UdU) –400 according to the organization– have gathered in Madrid, in front of the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food (MAPA), in defense of a Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) for the agricultural sector and fair prices in origin.
The protesters came from the Valencian Community, Castilla and Leon, Castilla-La Mancha, Catalonia, Madrid, Extremadura, Andalusia, Galicia, Cantabria, and La Rioja, mainly. They placed two tractors that came from Castilla-La Mancha in front of the headquarters of the MAPA and sacks and boxes of potatoes, carrots, grapes, lettuce, and other foods and beverages they assure are paid at low prices.
In statements to the media, the state coordinator of UdU, Jose Manuel de las Heras, said that they demand the Ministry's definition of 'active farmer' encourages the aid of the future CAP is received by those farmers who have land to live.
According to the UdU, the Strategic Plan that the Government finalizes to distribute the aid from the next CAP must define the figure of active farmer beneficiary of direct aid as one whose agricultural income will represent more than 25% of total income, establishing a caveat for recipients of less than 1,250 euro, which are numerous but have a minimal impact on the distribution of aid.
"The proposal under discussion would establish the minimum ceiling at 5,000 euro," he stated. This means the distribution of aid would continue as it has been up until now, he added.
"We ask the minister to reflect. It has a very small political cost and a lot of social justice," he said.
Claims on the food chain
The UdU also demanded the Food Chain Law is defined. Manuel de las Heras said the commitment was for it to be approved in the Congress session before the summer holidays, but that the Agriculture Commission does not plan to resume its debate until September 22.
De las Heras highlighted two of the 24 amendments that the UdU has presented to the new law's draft text. The first one is the elimination of selling at a loss, which is a red line that cannot be crossed in commercial relations and must be clearly defined in the regulations to prevent it from happening, he said. The second one is promoting 'special monitoring' of the prices of the distribution chains that have more than an 8% market share.