Boycott in Germany of strawberries from Huelva to save Doñana

by Lorraine Williamson
strawberry boycott

MADRID – More than 140,000 citizens have joined an online campaign calling on German supermarket chains to stop selling Spanish strawberries. The initiators want to contribute to the preservation of the Doñana National Park. 

The campaign was launched by the German association Campact. Campaign leader Friederike Gravenhorst states that “supermarket chains such as Edeka, Lidl and others indirectly contribute to the drying out of Doñana National Park by selling ‘drought strawberries’.” 

Boycott only way to put pressure on government 

“This is bitter. Supermarket chains must take responsibility and remove these strawberries from their assortment. It is the only way to put pressure on the Andalucian government and save the national park,” she added. 

Also read: Conflict over bone-dry wetland Doñana has escalated to Brussels 

Campact is an association that organises online campaigns and describes itself as a “citizens’ movement with more than 2.5 million people defending progressive policies”. The association warns that “by growing cheap strawberries for Germany, Spain risks a drought catastrophe in one of its most important national parks”. 

Request irrigation law to be withdrawn immediately 

Farmers are said to be illegally pumping water from long-dried Doñana to supply strawberries to Germany and the rest of Europe, even in winter. Minister Teresa Ribera of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge has brought attention to the campaign through her Twitter profile. She asks the Andalucian president, JuanMa Moreno, to “immediately” withdraw the irrigation law currently under consideration in the regional parliament. 

Cogesa Expats

“Especially after the election victory of the People’s Party PP in the regional and local elections last weekend, there is a danger that water theft will now be officially allowed,” the association warns. 

Germany is the main buyer of Doñana strawberries 

The signatories of the call are addressing the largest German supermarket chains – Edeka, Lidl, Rewe and Aldi – “because although Spanish strawberries are sold throughout Europe, Germany is the most important customer”. 

If the German supermarkets, where a third of these ‘drought strawberries’ end up, stop buying the fruit, “the trade will collapse and the national park still has a chance,” Campact insists. 

Also read: Andalucia signs death warrant for Doñana – Spain’s most important wetland 

Why is Doñana ecologically so important? 

Doñana National Park, located in the west of the Andalucia region, is one of Europe’s most important wetland reserves and a major site for migratory birds. It is renowned for its biodiversity, providing habitat to a rich variety of wildlife, including many species of birds, both resident and migratory, European and Iberian species of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The park is especially notable for being a stronghold of the Iberian lynx and the Spanish imperial eagle, two of the most endangered species in Spain.  

Doñana’s ecosystems include lagoons, marshlands, fixed and mobile dunes, scrub woodland, Mediterranean forest, and over 30 km of virgin beaches. The park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 in recognition of its significant ecological value. 

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