All agricultural inputs are being affected by increased costs. Asaja calculates that, after having a 30 cent increase per kilo this quarter, the plastic covers for greenhouses are currently 47% more expensive than they were a year ago.
Plastic is just one example of how production costs have risen uncontrollably. In the last week alone, fertilizer prices have increased by 7%, about 50 euro/ton, and B diesel by 21%. The rise in prices is the main concern among producers, who have expressed that they can't afford to pay such high prices.
"In this sense, ASAJA-Almeria believes that the measures approved this week by the Government to address the drought and costs issues are just a first step to do so. These measures are insufficient and arrive late. More efforts are still needed to address these issues."
"For example, this package doesn't implement the 35% and 15% reduction in diesel and fertilizer bills, which are part of the Decree that reforms the Food Chain Law approved in December; a reform of which, to date, nothing is known," ASAJA stated.
In addition, measures to lower the electricity and fuel bills -two of the inputs that have skyrocketed in the last year and that are vital for the operation of the farms- are still pending. "The price of water has skyrocketed because of the increase in the price of electricity. Producers welcome any reduction in the price of desalinated water, but we believe that there is still room for improvement."
The government measures include special deferrals of Social Security quotas for a very limited period of time. According to ASAJA, this isn't enough and the government needs to look into other possibilities, such as a reduction in quotas for a longer period of time.
Protest on March 20
"The situation is worrying enough to get back on the streets. There are enough reasons for producers and society to participate in the protest on March 20 in Madrid in defense of the interests of the sector. Food production is strategic, as demonstrated during the pandemic and during these last convulsive days," Asaja stressed.