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Murcian farmers 'suffocated' by citrus fruit and vegetable imports

The sale of tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, courgettes, apples, plums, and citrus fruits from third countries has increased in the Community markets, according to complaints from various agricultural organizations in the Region of Murcia. These products are distributed at much lower prices than the products that are grown in the region, which is hitting the region's farmers hard.

As published by La Opinión de Murcia, on average, the tomatoes from Turkey and Morocco are sold to distribution chains at prices that are 235% and 204% cheaper than the Spanish tomatoes, respectively. Spain pays more than one euro per kilo of onion from Egypt, Turkey, and Senegal, i.e. 1,386% more than the 7 cents/kilo it costs in its countries of origin. The plums from Brazil, Chile, and South Africa cost 808% more than at origin going from 0.38 to 3.45 euro/kg; and the lemon imported from South Africa and Argentina costs 642% more, as its price goes from 0.31 to 2.30 euro/kg. The price of South African oranges in Spain ranges from €1.30-1.50/kg, i.e. 1,900% more than what the producers at origin are paid.

Faced with the massive arrival of these products, the agricultural organizations of the Region demand greater control. "This is a historic demand of the Coordinator of Farmers' and Livestock Organizations (COAG), which considers that the EU has a double standard for producers, as EU producers are required to comply with food safety and health regulations that producers from other countries don't have to follow," stated the president of COAG, Jos Miguel Marin.

In this respect, the organization requests that the so-called mirror clauses be applied, so that any product entering the Community market is subject to the same standards. Marin also stressed that the prices of imported products put downward pressure on regional product prices. Producers are paid lower prices for their products but, in many cases, these decreases are not reflected in the prices consumers pay at supermarkets. COAG also demanded that these imported products comply with all the necessary plant health regulations, as they may contain residues of active substances banned in the EU.



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