Farmers maintain the mobilizations. Although Planas guarantees a fair price and prohibits the sale at losses, there are no tax rebates or price cuts
Yesterday was the day when the agricultural groups expected that the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, would give them concrete solutions to their demands. But, according to what was announced after the Council of Ministers, everything will remain in a few restrictive measures, fiscal and labor adjustments, and the guarantee that the prices of food products will never be sold at a loss. Little “harvest” for a sector that called for draft measures, both fiscal and in quotations, as structural and financial, and that will continue with its claims “until they are really taken care of,” sources of agricultural associations told LA RAZÓN Your meeting with the minister. Asaja, COAG and UPA considered that the measures adopted are “insufficient” and have called for more efforts to “solve the real problems of agriculture”, while the protests are being held for this week. The minister was disgusted by his position, although he said he does not throw in the towel. “We will continue to discuss the pending issues,” he said after four hours of tense talks.
Planas had been very satisfied in the morning with the decree law presented, which includes, according to his criteria, the “fundamental” measures to meet the demands of farmers and ranchers. It amends the Law of the Food Chain and offers a package of measures with which it intends to eliminate “the sale to losses throughout the chain.” The minister announced some of them: the contracts must formalize the production costs in writing to guarantee the price; loss sales and deceptive promotional campaigns are prohibited; fractional payment of taxes will be allowed for young farmers who join the activity; the minimum to access the agricultural subsidy in Andalusia and Extremadura will be reduced from 35 to 20 peon; and the conversion of eventual contracts into fixed or discontinuous fixed will be discounted.
No direct aids
Very little thing, understand the agrarian associations, which have seen how their main requests – regardless of the demand for fair prices – have fallen in sack for the Government. The minister said nothing about approving special financial assistance to the agricultural sector – as Germany or France have already done – nor about a decrease in Social Security contributions for farmworkers, nor of discounts on electricity tariffs for irrigation and agricultural fuels, or the freezing of insurance premiums and increased coverage.
Therefore, yesterday they maintained the protests and again collapsed the main roads of Andalusia, where the wink of the improvement of the PER does not seem to have caused effect. Farmers are not satisfied with the guarantee of not selling at a loss and the government’s plan to generalize inspections and fines. The minister said that the Food Control Agency will be “reinforced to avoid fraud against producers.” Irregularities that are detected can suffer fines ranging from 3,000 to 100,000 euros for serious ones, and between 100,001 and 1,000,000 euros for very serious ones. Infringements in food contracts that do not formalize production costs or do not include changes in price, which were previously considered minor, and which have now been classified as serious along with the sale of a product have been raised to serious below the production price, which was not previously contemplated. Repeated infringement will be considered a very serious offense.
Fear in consumers
What the minister did not explain is how the Government will prevent the final sale price of the products from triggering and impacting on the consumer as prices rise at source. «This Government is not interventionist in a free market economy, so we appeal to the responsibility of all the actors in the chain. We believe that there is room for more payment and prices to be maintained ». This is not the case for associations that group large areas, which state “that the margins are so tight that the ability to lower them is practically impossible.”
This royal decree law will be processed as a bill, after being validated by Parliament, because Planas wants it to be “the object of consideration and debate in Congress.”