Olive Growers in Jaén Protest Aid Reduction in New Budget

The stopgap budget will fund the agriculture sector until the new Common Agricultural Policy comes into force in 2023.
Protestors blocking roads in Jaén. Photo: Asaja Jaén.
Apr. 30, 2021
Daniel Dawson

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Hundreds of olive grow­ers joined demon­stra­tions in Jaén this week to protest a stop­gap mea­sure to fund the agri­cul­ture sec­tor until the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) comes into force in 2023.

The pre­vi­ous CAP expired at the end of 2020. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food argues that this new fund­ing will allow for a seam­less tran­si­tion into the next agree­ment.

Jaén must have its own and spe­cific voice in all debates on the CAP due to the weight that agri­cul­ture has in our econ­omy.- Cristóbal Cano , sec­re­tary gen­eral, Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers Jaén

The deci­sion adopted today in the Council of Ministers ensures a sta­ble frame­work of pub­lic sup­port for Spanish farm­ers and ranch­ers, who will be able to receive about €7.2 bil­lion of CAP aid [per annum],” the min­istry said.

These amounts, together with the bud­get of the future strate­gic plan of the CAP 2023 to 2027, will ensure that Spain will have the nec­es­sary bud­get through­out the 2021 to 2027 period, just over €47.7 bil­lion, to face the fun­da­men­tal chal­lenges of the agrar­ian sec­tor and rural areas,” the min­istry added.

See Also: Italy Pledges Nearly €70M for Olive Oil and Table Olive Sector

One of the more con­tro­ver­sial points of the upcom­ing CAP is the con­ver­gence in agri­cul­tural pay­ments that will take place in Spain. The next CAP will see some regions of the coun­try lose fund­ing, while oth­ers will gain fund­ing.

Previous rounds of stop­gap fund­ing have con­tin­ued to fol­low what was pro­vided by the pre­vi­ous CAP. However, in this stop­gap mea­sure, the Spanish gov­ern­ment is begin­ning the con­ver­gence process early. Olive oil-soaked Andalusia will be one of the biggest losers under the new agree­ment.

As a result, olive farm­ers and other agri­cul­tur­al­ists flooded the streets of Jaén and other cities across the south of Spain to make their dis­con­tent known. Separate protests related to the stop­gap fund­ing were held in other regions of the coun­try, includ­ing Aragón.

Olive farm­ers and agri­cul­tural asso­ci­a­tions are angry that the inter­ven­ing agri­cul­ture bud­get decreases the amount of aid paid out per hectare. Some fear that these cuts will lay the ground­work for lower pay­ments in future CAPs.

Luis Carlos Valero, the direc­tor of the Association of Young Farmers and Rancher (Asaja) in Jaén, crit­i­cized the gov­ern­ment for rush­ing the leg­is­la­tion and pass­ing it with­out con­sult­ing farm­ers.

Asaja esti­mates that the stop­gap mea­sure could lead some pro­duc­ers to lose 25 per­cent of the fund­ing they receive from the gov­ern­ment. Cooperativas Agro-Alimentarias, one of the most promi­nent agri­cul­tural asso­ci­a­tions in the coun­try, esti­mates that the new stop­gap fund­ing decreases pay­ments to farm­ers in Jaén by €150 mil­lion per annum.

The eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion that olive grow­ers are going to expe­ri­ence will have an unques­tion­able impact on the econ­omy of the entire province of Jaén and all the towns,” Carlos Valero said.

We are talk­ing about peo­ple who have had a tremen­dous blow from one day to the next,” added Juan Luis Ávila, the sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Coordinator of Agriculture and Livestock Organizations (COAG) Jaén. An olive grower with 10 hectares of irri­gated groves lost €1,500 overnight.”

Cristóbal Cano, the sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers (UPA) in Jaén, said that agri­cul­tural-reliant regions such as Andalusia should not endure fund­ing cuts to make up for short­falls in other parts of the coun­try.

Jaén must have its own and spe­cific voice in all debates on the CAP due to the weight that agri­cul­ture has in our econ­omy,” he said. And we are not going to allow the province… to be the one that pays the price, as has been hap­pen­ing national appli­ca­tion after national appli­ca­tion.”

However, the min­istry argues that these cuts were com­ing any­ways and by start­ing to phase them in now, olive farm­ers can bet­ter pre­pare for the future.

This royal decree allows, dur­ing this tran­si­tion period, to give con­ti­nu­ity with total legal cer­tainty to the pay­ment of direct aid received by farm­ers and ranch­ers, as well as the mea­sures of rural devel­op­ment pro­grams,” the min­istry said. The nec­es­sary adap­ta­tions are made to guar­an­tee a smooth and grad­ual tran­si­tion between one period and another.”





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