A week after the visit by the Minister for Agriculture to Valencia, the capital of citrus fruit, the CGC formed by the private export sector, has shown its discontent as it was overlooked at the meeting.
On the 15th of October, the Spanish Minister for Agriculture, Luis Planas, visited Valencia. The member of the central government, who met up with the Head of the Valencian Consell, Ximo Puig, later participated in a meeting with leaders of Agrifood Cooperatives, with the Agrifood Federation of the Community of Valencia and with different agricultural organizations. But not all associations were invited: the Valencian Association of Farmers (AVA-ASAJA) was also not on the guest list. Finally, he also had time to go to Museros to visit Anecoop’s experimental farm. The encounter was basically used to tackle the start of the citrus fruit campaign, the final negotiations of the CAP (the situation of the operational programmes after the new reform, the impact of the application of the ‘Green Deal’) and to debate the situation generated by the entry of new foreign pests.
“It is inconceivable for a public servant to only work for some people, only listening to a part of the sector and ignoring a business community that generates invoicing of 2,400 million euros per year, which is a world leader, which moves one of every five kilos sold on the international markets, 70% of the fresh produce exports and which develops tens of thousands of hectares, a large part of which are in the Valencian Community itself,” points out the chairwoman of the CGC, Inmaculada Sanfeliu.
The CGC also regrets the important degree of lack of knowledge about the situation, the progress and the real possibilities of Intercitrus, on which the Minister has been insisting. “If the Minister is so interested in reactivating the interprofessional association, why has he not invited all the member organisations to take part in this meeting?”, Sanfeliu queries.
Furthermore, it is complicated to understand that the Minister came to Valencia to announce that, under the new regulations of the CAP, the operating programmes for fruit and vegetables will have no prior budget ceiling and that they also do not include the Association of Producers Organisations (OP) forming the CGC. Due to the citrus fruit surface area and the productive workforce that it brings together, and also to having some of the largest marketed production volume OPs in Spain amongst its members, their opinion should be worthy of greater attention from the Minister. In the same way, the CGC wanted to pass on to Luis Planas the “unavoidable” need for his department to strengthen its financial commitment to fight against the imported pests that cause important losses to the citrus fruit farmers and, in particular, in the plans for fighting against foreign pathogens such as the ‘South African Mealybug’. Employers intended to pass on to Planas the threat meant by the trade policy held by EU in recent years within the framework of important trade agreements. The accelerated opening up of the European market (where 93% of Spanish exports are sent), contrasts, however, with the lack of reciprocity in working, social and environmental requirements for the imported citrus fruit that are going to compete with our productions on the EU market and when negotiating the conditions for being able to export to non-EU countries.