Huelva calls for products for soil disinfection

Huelva’s producers are at a disadvantage, compared to their European counterparts, as regards the use of disinfectants to make their production operations feasible

A total of 750 red-fruit producers in the province of Huelva have signed letters addressed to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to obtain authorisation to use pesticides to combat pests in the cultivation of berries, which has been the case in previous campaigns, and is true of other European Union countries such as Italy, Greece, or Portugal.

This request on the part of Freshuelva, which was submitted to the Ministry by the Joint Spanish-French-Italian-Portuguese Committee, of which it forms part as a member of the Strawberry Contact Group and that met recently in Lisbon, is also backed by farmers from other organisations such as Asaja, Cooperativas Agro-Alimentarias de Andalucía, and UPA Huelva, who have also sent letters to that end.

In the texts submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, farmers urge the Administration to “guarantee the sanitary and economic feasibility of their crops, which generate more than 100,000 jobs in the province of Huelva, and to authorise the use of the formulated products required to disinfect the soil where strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are cultivated.”

In this regard, berry producers warn that “if a solution is not provided for disinfecting and, specifically, in relation to the availability of effective tools to control fungi and nematodes, the sector will be seriously impacted.”

The farmers highlight the fact that “in Huelva, strawberries are obtained from plants that come from high-altitude nurseries located in Castile and Leon, whose sanitary conditions must be optimum so that, once they are planted in Huelva, they produce premium fruit. All of this requires, among other measures, disinfection work before planting the mother plant, which plays an essential role in the entire production cycle.”In this context, it is worth remembering that, in the province of Huelva, more than 11,000 hectares of berries are currently under cultivation, almost 7,000 of which correspond to strawberries. This generates, in each campaign, more than 100,000 direct jobs just in Huelva, and more than 25,000 indirect ones, “figures that highlight the sector’s socioeconomic importance, not only in the province of Huelva but also for Spain’s fruit and vegetable sector.”

They therefore warn that, “if our request is not satisfied, we will be at a competitive disadvantage, with regard to not only non-EU countries but also southern European countries (Italy, Greece, Portugal), who are granting exceptional usage to safeguard the interests of their producers, whose products compete with ours in the main European markets.” In view of this situation, they call for Spain’s Ministry “to evaluate the situation and take measures to guarantee the sanitary and economic feasibility of crops.”

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