Farmers hold mass protest in Spain’s Madrid to demand fairer prices in the agriculture sector

HUNDREDS of farmers converged outside of the Agriculture Ministry in Spain’s Madrid on Wednesday, February 4, to protest against the challenges facing the country’s farming sector.

The group called on the Spanish government to take action to address the crisis where issues such as low prices and measures enforced by the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are ‘threatening their future’.

Speaking outside of the Ministry, Ivana Martínez, the general secretary of Madrid’s Farmer and Agriculture Organization (COAG) said: “Our main demand is for a fair price for agri-food products” adding that “they should cost what they are meant to cost, and not what they are priced by big distribution and food chains, which always keep the added value.”

This was in relation to the sales price of agricultural products, which in January was reported to be four times what was paid to farmers, which are particularly evident when looking at the cost of potatoes. At the beginning of this year, farmers were paid €0.17 for a kilo of potatoes that was then sold to the public for €1.25 in shops, where other products such as meat, eggs and milk were also purchased at triple the price paid to workers.

In response to the growing concern, a spokesperson for the Agriculture Ministry had announced a series of measures to target the crisis, including providing funding to subsidise the cost of agriculture insurance premiums and setting up a system to monitor the production costs in the sector.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez also responsed to the protest, writing on his official Twitter account on the day of the rally that: “The government is strongly committed to our countryside, to the future of the agri-food sector, to the families and villages that live from it. We will not look the other way.”

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Written by

Isha Sesay