The Government promotes urgent measures to face the crisis in the agricultural sector

During his appearance before the Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Congress of Deputies, Luis Planas has assured that the Government works for the future of Spanish farmers, ranchers and fishermen, with determination, conviction and commitment, since without the field and Without the sea, cities could not exist.

He has called for, regardless of the "legitimate ideological discrepancies", work together in the "noble task of representing citizens", through dialogue, clarity and transparency, in the search for strategies that help to face the complex challenges that arise in this legislature.

Before explaining the lines of action of the Government for the next four years, the minister has analyzed the current situation of the field, highlighting that, in large part, these are structural problems that are not easy or quick to solve.

Among the main problems affecting the sector, Planas has pointed out the erosion of the margins of farmers and ranchers, the atomization of the supply that weakens their bargaining power, the delicate situation of certain sectors (especially the olive and fruit and vegetable), problems in international trade (greater international competition, Russian veto, brexit or US tariffs) and atmospheric phenomena associated with climate change.

Government measures in the face of sector crises

Given this situation of loss of profitability of farms, and quality of life of producers, in which both short-term and structural aspects converge, the Government has reacted immediately and intensified its efforts in the search for consensual solutions, through an exercise of transparency and dialogue with the different actors, both institutional and of the sector itself.

The ministry has constituted, at the request of the President of the Government, the Agrarian Dialogue Table with agricultural professional organizations, since "dialogue and action are the main lines of this Government". The Food Chain Observatory has also been reactivated to relaunch the studies, which ceased to be carried out in 2014, on the formation of product prices and promote a more fair distribution of value.

Among the main measures to be undertaken is the immediate modification of the law of the food chain, whose project will be presented tomorrow at the Council of Ministers, to prevent the banalization of agricultural products, prohibit unfair competition practices, as well as strengthen written contracts, in which it will be mandatory to include the actual costs of production, to give guarantee and reliability to the valuation of your work. In short, the project will give a response tailored to the needs of the chain and favor that the farms are profitable "so that they have present and future".

In addition, taking advantage of the opportunity offered by the transposition of the Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices (DPCD), the Government will expand its scope and will include part of the Code of Good Practices in the operative part of the Law of the Food Chain to make them mandatory.

In the legislative field, Planas has pointed out that changes will be introduced in the law of interprofessional organizations, so that they can develop more functions and improve their functioning. The momentum of interprofessional organizations has special interest in sectors such as citrus or stone fruit, so that they can carry out production-oriented practices according to demand. The recognition of associations and organizations of producers in the sectors that, until now, did not count on it will also be regulated.

To also contribute to improving the profitability of the producers, the Government plans to increase the amount allocated to agricultural insurance in the next General State Budgets.

Future Challenges

Looking ahead, Minister Planas has assured that the Government will address the profound transformations that the agricultural, livestock, fisheries and food sectors must undertake, in particular, the incorporation of innovation and digitalization.

In this task, Planas has identified six hallmarks of its Department for this legislature: dialogue and consensus; reinforce the prominence of young people and women; the defense of a family and professional exploitation model; the search for the profitability of farms; the leadership of our agri-food and fisheries system, based on quality and sustainability criteria; and innovation, knowledge transfer and the incorporation of new technologies.

The minister considers that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a fundamental tool to promote this renewal. For this reason, the Government defends a CAP with a sufficient budgetary endowment, which guarantees the triple economic, social and environmental sustainability of farms, livestock and fisheries.

Throughout 2019, the Ministry has maintained an open dialogue with society to prepare the analysis of the needs of the agri-food sector, from which to define the specific measures and develop the National Strategic Plan for the application of the CAP in Spain, that the Government expects to have prepared in the first quarter of 2021 and be one of the first Member States to present it. Then the national legislation will be developed that will allow to start applying this plan from 2022.

The new European political framework will also involve demands on animal and plant health. "We will be proactive," according to the minister who pointed out that it is key to prevent the spread of pests and diseases of plants for what will put into operation a new model of phytosanitary control at the border.

The minister has signaled the commitment to consolidate a sustainable irrigation and rural infrastructure policy, respectful of the environment and the efficient use of natural resources. It is a key tool in generating added value, profitability and quality jobs.

He has also pointed out that the current law of agrarian representativeness does not respond to the current situation and it is necessary to initiate a reflection to proceed with the approval of a new legal text.

Planas has also stressed the need to combat the excessive atomization of supply. For this, it is the intention of the Government to address the modification of the cooperative integration law, with a wide debate on the role of the cooperative model in Spain.

Similarly, changes in Community legislation will be promoted so that the labeling includes in more detail the origin of the products, with the aim that citizens have more information in their purchasing decisions. Monitoring will also be strengthened so that all imported products comply with Community legal requirements, and so that they compete on equal terms with European agricultural products.

In rural development, a package of legislative reforms will be carried out in the context of the elaboration of a new Basic Law of Agriculture. Thus, laws such as shared ownership and the modernization of farms will be reviewed to adapt them to the real needs of the sector and the people who comprise it.

Fishing sector

On the other hand, Planas has highlighted the importance of the fishing sector for large areas of Spain, a sector that "deserves attention and care" to ensure its profitability and that the "hard work" that fishermen do is socially recognized.

In this sense, Planas has indicated that the progress achieved in the previous legislature (renewal of fishing agreements with third countries, full application of the landing obligation, or the achievement of the Maximum Sustainable Performance in most commercial species, among others) are to serve as a basis to promote sustainable development measures of this sector in its economic, social and environmental dimensions.

The minister stressed that sustainable fishing is an essential tool for the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for the conservation of seas and oceans, as well as for the eradication of hunger in the world.

As he has reiterated, this sector has made a great effort to adapt to strict regulations, so it deserves greater social recognition and improvements in its conditions of safety and well-being at work, as well as training opportunities that take advantage of the advances associated with digitization

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