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Coag Almeria demands the withdrawal of second-rate fruits and vegetables to solve the price crisis

The Coordinator of Agrarian and Livestock Organizations, Coag Almeria, handed out agricultural food products for free in front of a supermarket in the municipality of El Ejido as a means to protest and demand the withdrawal of second-rate fruits and vegetables, which they state is the only emergency solution to the price crisis that the fruit and vegetable sector is facing.

“Almost a year ago, the organization decided to -once again- be part of Andalusia's Fruit and Vegetable Inter-branch organization (Hortyfruta). This organization then unanimously decided to resort to the withdrawal of second-rate agrifood products to face crisis situations, a decision that was backed up by the Ministry of Agriculture. Then, the Ministry only had to declare it mandatory for everyone through the implementation of the extension of the rule. A year later, the Junta de Andalusia still hasn't settled the procedure,” stated Andres Gongora, the head of COAG's fruit and vegetable sector and the organization's provincial secretary in Almeria. The head of Coag said the sector required tools to raise the price of fruit and vegetables, or the situation will become unsustainable.

The products mainly affected at this time include aubergine, zucchini, and pepper. “From November to April, El Ejido alone produces 80% of the aubergine consumed in Europe. Almeria's pepper has a 60 to 70% market share, so if the second categories were withdrawn, the products would be appreciated,” Gongora stated. This season, the situation has been aggravated by the increase in costs.

The objective of Coag's protest was to demonstrate how supermarket shelves are full of second-rate fruit and vegetable products that are being sold at high prices, while marketers sell the first-rate products at very low prices that are up to 400% lower than the prices consumers pay at the supermarkets. "There is a supply and the demand wants them, but it's not willing to pay for them," Gongora stated. In fact, he said, some producers, such as zucchini farmers, have been paid 10 cents per kilo of their product this season.

Coag Almeria has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Consumption to take action and to begin sanctioning supermarkets that sell second-rate fruit and vegetable products as if they were first-rate products. “There is a code of good commercial practices that they are not respecting. We ask for legislation and sanctions for those who do not comply with it.”



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