Spanish growers turn up the heat with new protests planned
Protests are set to continue in Spain on Friday with a large demonstration planned for the capital where 10 metric tons (MT) of fruit and vegetables will be distributed to the public in a rally, deliberately timed to coincide with high level talks in Brussels.
Convened by the leading Spanish agricultural trade unions, the protest is expected to draw attention to the country's worsening situation as a result of the Russian embargo.
Farmers and suppliers will be in the heart of the city in Madrid's Plaza de Callao on Sept. 5 while EU agriculture ministers hold discussions on the ripple affects felt across Europe in relation to the ban.
Under the slogan 'Save the Spanish agricultural sector', the protestors claim Europe's extraordinary compensation measures of €125 million (US$ 165 million) aimed at propping up agricultural sectors around the EU is not enough to ease the financial loses experienced by producers over the last few weeks that are expected to continue in the coming months.
Unions, including the Spanish Union of Small Growers and Ranchers and the Agri-food Cooperatives of Aragon, are urging people to come out in force and support the cause, and at the same time help themselves to fruit and vegetables that will be dumped as part of the manifestation.
"In 2013 Spain exported nearly €340 million (US$447million) worth of food products to Russia that have now been banned, so the effects of this measure will be very serious for the Spanish economy and are already being felt by many companies," a spokesman for the Spanish Union of Small Growers and Ranchers told www.freshfruitportal.com.
"The purpose of the protest will be to demand support for all the affected sectors as soon as possible."
Among the distributed produce will be peaches, pears, apples and potatoes.
This follows a similar protest held outside the doors of Carrefour in Granada, Spain, last week when angry farmers accused the French retailer of taking advantage of the Russian embargo situation by offering suppliers low prices for their produce.
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