Luis Planas has reviewed, in a videoconference meeting, the urgent measures regarding agricultural employment, published today in the Official State Gazette (BOE) to favor the temporary hiring of workers in the agricultural sector, in view of the pressing need for sufficient manpower to carry out the essential tasks in the agricultural sector and to ensure food supplies.
In this sense, he pointed out that the Royal Decree-Law incorporates "a necessary element of flexibility" so that its application adjusts to the demands of the needs of the sector (shearing, thinning, harvesting …) in each autonomy.
"The autonomous communities are the best placed" to help plan and implement, together with the agrarian professional organizations and cooperatives, these urgent measures with the employment services of the autonomous communities themselves, as well as the state, and the government delegations and subdelegations.
"If we all cooperate we will have a positive response to the employment demands of the agrarian sector," stressed the minister. Planas stressed that these measures offer "local solutions to a problem of business need, food supply and socio-labor importance" by allowing the compatibility of some benefits with the perception of income from working in the field (agriculture and livestock) or in the fishing sector.
During the meeting, the minister communicated to the directors that the market works normally, within the exceptional situation due to COVID-19. He pointed out that both imports, especially those related to cereals and feed, and exports, are developing correctly.
It has also reviewed the main regulations implemented these weeks and aimed at guaranteeing the functioning of the food and beverage supply chain and customs transit, as well as to face the economic and social impact of COVID-19.
The royal decrees-laws of urgent measures of 17, 29 and 31 March provide for the agricultural sector an extraordinary benefit for self-employed or self-employed workers for cessation of activity, as well as a credit line of 20,000 million euros and a line of guarantees to cover the financing granted by financial institutions to SMEs and the self-employed.
Some measures that include for the self-employed moratoriums in the payment of Social Security contributions, taking into account exceptional circumstances or supporting industrialization to facilitate liquidity for companies and flexibility in contracting supplies for SMEs and the self-employed.
And for the fishing sector, the possibility of requesting employment regulation files due to force majeure or economic, technical, organizational and production causes, which in both cases derive from the incidence of COVID-19, or the participation of the guarantee line established by the ICO for companies. In addition, the viability of requests for moratoriums or deferrals of contributions to Social Security for companies and self-employed workers.
To reinforce these objectives, various flexibility measures have been implemented to facilitate the transport of goods, which have allowed authorizations in the field of transport of animals, as well as the relaxation of rest requirements and transfer conditions during this period, or the use of tourist accommodation for workers related to the supply of agricultural and fishery products.
New national measures for the agricultural sector
The minister has also reviewed some national measures that are developed for the agricultural sector, such as the relaxation of certain national requirements relating to the Support Program for the Wine Sector, to the fruit and vegetables operational programs, National Beekeeping Plan and the vineyard authorization regime.
He explained that a royal decree is being prepared to implement a measure to support sheep and goat farmers, which will allow establishing an indemnified slaughter regime for lambs, to release the excess supply of lambs affected by the closure of restaurants.
The autonomous communities have valued this measure, although they have requested that some modifications be made to the initial text. In this regard, the minister has informed the autonomous communities that, based on the observations received during the consultation period, he will send a new draft at the beginning of next week.
In relation to the livestock sector, the minister has valued the work carried out by the autonomous communities in matters of livestock sanitation. He stressed that maintaining this activity is essential so that livestock farms can continue to maintain their health status, key to international trade.
Likewise, the minister celebrated that the regulation that will allow the extension of the deadline for submission of the single request for aid from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the year 2020. This is a request made by Spain, among other member states, and the autonomous communities have been informed that a ministerial order will be published shortly to extend that term at the state level until that date. The aforementioned order will also establish the deadline for the submission of modifications to the single application for June 30.
Flexibility measures in the fishing sector
In the fishing field, Planas has raised the importance of the flexibility measures adopted both for the long-distance fleet and in third countries, and for the national fishing ground.
In the first case, flexibility has been achieved in the operation of the agreement with Morocco; as well as the renewal of all licenses, from April 1, for the important agreements of Mauritania and Guinea Bissau.
For the fleet of national fishing grounds and waters of the European Union, the most affected by this crisis due to the closure of the Horeca channel, the minister pointed out that the Government has adopted fisheries management measures to maintain activity, as far as possible. possible, as it was an essential activity.
Furthermore, within the framework of the actions to implement measures to support the fishing sector affected by COVID-19, Planas has highlighted the proposal to modify the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (FEMP), presented by the European Commission on April 2, which includes various measures proposed by Spain.
This proposal includes specific aid for temporary cessation if necessary; compensatory aid to aquaculture producers; reintroduction of storage aid, a measure that had been eliminated in 2017 or the reinforcement of the production plans of the Fisheries Producers Organizations, which, among other measures, are essential to support and achieve the maintenance of fishing activity Spanish.