Spain: Is there interest in strikes in Almeria?

Recently, the provincial representatives of ASAJA and COAG have announced a call for a general agricultural strike for next Thursday 4 February, coinciding with the celebration of the world’s greatest horticultural fair, Fruit Logistica, in order to generate more impact.

These organizations demand solutions to the price crisis that, they assure, the sector has been suffering every season on all products and which is increasingly becoming worse.

They back a change in the relations model between producers, trade and retail, and ask for the whole sector to benefit from the crisis management mechanisms and exceptional measures adopted because of the Russian veto to regulate the market, as well as for an increase in withdrawal prices. It is also requested that the crisis management mechanisms of the CMO have an independent budget from that of the operative front, to facilitate investments from FVPOs.

Prices start to recover and there is no interest in the strike

The truth is that the call comes precisely at a time when vegetable prices are overall on the recovery, given that the drop in temperatures is regulating production, for some products more than for others.

FreshPlaza has asked some growers in Almeria’s Poniente, where the moods are certainly not those typical of a crisis situation, and also in the Levant, where the tomato oversupply has led to a very difficult season.

“So far, this manifesto has not been supported by producers. We’re not giving it much regard, especially at this time, when prices have been going up for about four or five days, so I doubt that the strike will have any impact,” bluntly says a producer in the Poniente area.

“We are pleased with the current prices. Aubergines, cucumbers, peppers and courgettes are becoming more expensive and a positive trend is expected in the coming days. Why should they stop at a good time of the campaign?” said another grower.

“We are going through a difficult situation. The mild temperatures during the autumn and winter have led to oversupply which, together with increased competition from Morocco this year, has resulted in a collapse of prices,” states a tomato producer from the Levant area. “I do not know if the strike will be useful or not to address this problem, which is apparently just a temporary issue. However, it is true that in recent years the profit margins of tomatoes are tighter, because our production continues to grow,” he adds. “We hope that the arrival of the cold temperatures will push prices up; for now, the tomatoes on the vine are slightly recovering.”