As Covid Cases Drop in Spain, Plans to Protest Ramp Back Up

Olive growers and oil producers are resuming their public campaigns calling for more support for a sector in turmoil.
Juan-Luis-Ávila.-Photo-courtesy-of-COAG
Jul. 6, 2020
Daniel Dawson

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Olive grow­ers, oil pro­duc­ers and other agri­cul­tur­al­ists in Spain are set to renew protests through­out the sec­ond half of July, accord­ing to a joint state­ment released by four of the coun­try’s most promi­nent agri­cul­tural orga­ni­za­tions.

We have resumed the mobi­liza­tion of protests, and they will restart where they all began, here in the province of Jaén,” Juan Luis Ávila, the gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Coordinator of Agriculture and Livestock Organizations (COAG) of Jaén, said at a press con­fer­ence.

The Association of Young Farmers (Asaja), the COAG, the Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers (UPA) and the Agrifood Cooperatives of Jaén all said they would con­sult with local author­i­ties to make sure proper safety and san­i­tary pro­to­cols are fol­lowed through­out the protests to pre­vent the spread of COVID-19.

While the num­ber of active cases in the coun­try has dropped by more than 40 per­cent since the peak of the pan­demic a few months ago, author­i­ties remain wary of a sec­ond spike in infec­tions.

Members of the olive oil sec­tor will be join­ing the protests to demand manda­tory self-reg­u­la­tion mea­sures for the 2020 har­vest, the quick adop­tion of changes to the country’s so-called Food Chain Law and the removal of agri­cul­tural goods from the list of American tar­iffs on European Union imports.

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Producers argue that self-reg­u­la­tion will work more effec­tively than the European Union’s own pri­vate stor­age pro­grams, allow­ing coop­er­a­tives and com­pa­nies to remove olive oil from the mar­ket to bal­ance its sup­ply with the pre­vail­ing demand.

Members of the sec­tor are also urg­ing Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to quickly rat­ify and imple­ment pro­posed changes to the Food Chain Law, which would crack down on uncom­pet­i­tive behav­iors from retail­ers and work to ensure that pro­duc­ers are being paid fairly for their olive oils.

Growers and pro­duc­ers are also work­ing to increase the pres­sure on Brussels to nego­ti­ate with the United States to have table olives and olive oil removed from the list of American tar­iffs. The two prod­ucts were tar­geted by the U.S. after the World Trade Organization ruled that the E.U. had ille­gally sub­si­dized air­craft man­u­fac­turer Airbus.

These mea­sures that our orga­ni­za­tions and coop­er­a­tives require must be quickly put in place because they are three very fun­da­men­tal pil­lars of our busi­ness that we under­stand can serve to reverse our cur­rent sit­u­a­tion,” Ávila con­cluded.





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