Spain: Valencian Farmers Association estimates over €180M in losses from pandemic

Spain: Valencian Farmers Association estimates over €180M in losses from pandemic

The Valencian Farmers Association (AVA-ASAJA) estimates the losses accumulated by farmers and ranchers in the community at more than 180 million euros during the first year of the pandemic.

The closure and recurrent restrictrions of the Horeca Channel, mainly restaurants and tourism establishments, the cancellation of local street markets, the slowdown in exports and the cost overruns in prevention have taken a blow to most of Valencian crops and livestock.

Cristóbal Aguado, President of AVA-ASAJA said, "the pandemic reminded society of the essential role that agriculture plays in providing food in sufficient quantity and maximum quality, but the politicians have not been up to par and their recognition has not been translated into fair prices or support measures that alleviate the losses suffered".

The most affected agricultrual products have been wine, stone fruits, persimmon, oil, almonds, onions, potatoes and some vegetables.

According to the press release, there has been an unprecedented crisis in the wine sector, as prices at origin have dropped 30 percent and there are producers who have not received any income from the sale of their grapes in these twelve months.

Because of this, AVA-ASAJA calls for the implementation of extraordinary measures both to revitalize the wine market - crisis distillation and mainly green harvest - and to guarantee the financial survival of the farms in the short and medium term.

Aguado said, "both the governemnet and the Valencian Government have not been on the side of the agricultural sector but instead have eluded their responsibilities when favoring the implementation of additional measures for the prevention and control of Covid-19 in the different agricultural seasons and have decided to burden the producers with extra economic costs and more bureaucracy".

"Valencian agriculture has maintained exemplary measures to avoid the spread of the virus, has voluntarily collaborated with street disinfection work, has carried out solidarity initiatives with those most in need and above all, has kept food in the citizens' pantries."

"That deserves applause, but applause is of little use when the survival of our farms is at stake. Besides the applause, fair prices would be preferable and the politicians are failing in that sense."