The dramatic effect of the novel coronavirus in Spain, having claimed more than 1,300 human lives at the time of writing, has Spanish farmers hitting the streets again — not to protest, but to help with their tractors and equipment contain the spread of the pandemic, said Asaja, the Young Farmers Agrarian Association.
Farmers in many areas of the country, working together with the local authorities, loaded their tractor tanks with disinfectant solution (water and hypochlorite) and started sprinkling streets, squares, parks, and other public places.
“Farmers and ranchers are not oblivious to the difficult times that all of society is going through and we want to contribute our grain of sand. We will go where we are needed to fight this virus that has affected us all,” Pere Roque, president of Asaja-Lérida, stated.
“With tractors and atomizers, it is intended to stop the spread of the virus, since the use of this type of machinery is much more efficient than the treatment carried out [by hand],” he added.
Meanwhile, the restrictions in Spain due to the partial lockdown of the country have made day-to-day commuting hard for agricultural and plant workers.
As Emilio Terrón, the secretary for agriculture and fruit and vegetable handling of the UGT-FICA association explained, land workers and those working in handling facilities of agricultural products used to share one vehicle with co-workers to move, but the new measures require that each vehicle carries only one person (the driver) to prevent any spreading of the virus, posing a serious challenge to most of the workers who lack a driving license or a car of their own.
Furthermore, Terrón said that some workers reported to UGT-FICA that their employers have threatened them with a “voluntary withdrawal” status in case they miss work due to traffic limitations.