Ava-Asaja has launched a new campaign to intensify the filing of complaints before the Food Information and Control Agency (AICA) so that this body of the Ministry of Agriculture investigates and, where appropriate, sanctions abusive practices in citrus-fruit sales contracts, especially of oranges (mainly of the Navelina variety), that stipulate absolutely ruinous prices that do not allow producers to cover production costs by any means.
According to Ava-Asaja and as reflected by the Lonja de Cítricos de Valencia, "Navelina orange purchases have started slowly, with a delay compared to previous seasons and, in some cases, prices at origin have plummeted to € 0.15/kg or 2 euro/arroba (12.78 kilos). The latest study by the Valencian Institute of Agrarian Research (IVIA), determined that producing a kilo of oranges costs € 0.23 and a kilo of mandarins € 0.28. However, production costs have skyrocketed this year by nearly 30% so producing a kilo of oranges now costs almost €0.30 due to the increase in the cost of electricity, fuels, fertilizers, and treatments that citrus growers have been forced to increase to try to stop pests and diseases."
Ava-Asaja asked the Government to "expedite the investigation of these commercial abuses at a time in which the Congress of Deputies has just approved a reform of the Food Chain Law that prohibits selling at a loss in all links and that is currently being processed by the Senate. The low prices of oranges show that the objectives of the legislation are not reflected in reality. The Chain Law must stop all this abuse once and for all. Production costs that are taken as a reference to establish prices cannot continue to depend on the bargaining power of each producer, a public body must set them at each link in the food chain."
The organization attributes the critical start of the orange campaign to the substitution of the local production, which already guarantees the European market the quantity and quality they demand, in EU supermarkets by imports from third countries, mainly from South Africa, Egypt, and Morocco.
"Now that the EU is reviewing the trade agreement with South Africa, it must take this opportunity to make profound changes to this agreement because of the tremendous economic, phytosanitary, environmental, and social impact it has on the citrus sector, as next year there will be more hectares uncultivated," they stressed.