COAG Almeria denounced "the non-compliance with the Food Chain Law just as Almeria's fruit and vegetable campaign is starting, as some products are being sold below production costs, especially zucchini and cucumber, which, to date, are being auctioned below 30 cents."
"The agricultural campaign has just started, and we've already had to denounce these types of practices that only harm agriculture. In recent days, we have witnessed prices paid to producers fall below production costs, both for zucchini and cucumber, despite the fact that there aren't significant volumes of these products on the market yet," stated Andres Gongora, provincial secretary of Coag Almeria. "We are going to transfer these findings to the Food Chain Control Agency (AICA). We demand that an investigation be launched to find out exactly what's going on and which companies are buying products below cost and benefiting from this price drop. "
The start of the season in Almeria is often influenced by the presence of fruit and vegetables from other growing areas, including open field cultivation at the moment, but their impact on Almeria's greenhouse production is usually insignificant and doesn't affect prices. We can't allow this to happen year after year, Gongora stated. This is not due to normal market forces, it's due to speculative behavior, he added. "As soon as our product comes onto the market, prices paid to producers fall. Meanwhile, consumers continue to pay the same prices. This is what sounds an alarm for us. Consumers in the stores don't benefit from this situation at all."
A vulnerable sector
Almeria's agricultural sector is also conditioned by the cultivation of perishable products. Therefore, producers in Almeria are in a more vulnerable situation than in other growing areas. "We have to continue working. We can't stop production. As a result, we are at the mercy of these speculative movements and have no ability to respond. That's why we demand that the AICA investigate these companies. The numbers are clear: the products are being sold at a value below the cultivation costs, and that is a clear violation of the Food Chain Law. We just can't allow that to happen."
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