Spain’s food supply guaranteed despite farmer protests, says Minister

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food supply

The Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food, Luis Planas, assured on Monday that Spain’s food supply is “fully guaranteed,” despite the ongoing protests and mobilisations in the agricultural sector.

In an interview with Catalunya Ràdio, Planas emphasized that both food supply and food safety are guaranteed, including the quality, quantity, and “reasonable” prices of products.

Silent transition in food production

“The food production is undergoing a silent transition,” Planas stated, referring to the public’s unawareness of the complexity of this process. The minister also highlighted the need for “a great conversation” in Brussels, to take place before the implementation of certain measures aimed at improving sustainability in production that affect the sector.

Challenges for farmers

Planas acknowledged that farmers currently face complex challenges without simple solutions. “A difficult time for farmers, who need to be heard first, and then deserve solutions and support,” he added. The government has allocated nearly 4 billion euros in direct aid, fiscal benefits, and agricultural insurance measures to support the sector during this transition period, worsened by the consequences of the war.

During his appearance at the Barcelona Wine Week, Planas stressed the government’s commitment to dialogue and finding solutions. Last Friday, he met with the main agricultural organizations to discuss ten points of concern for farmers, including the adjustment of agricultural insurance to new climate conditions and the effective application of the Food Chain Law.

Drought as a “key” problem

Planas also spoke about the severe drought, especially in Catalonia, calling it a “key” problem that demands a response. He considered water transport from Valencia to Barcelona by ship as a “positive action” welcome in the current context.

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Additionally, he announced that 97 new projects will be launched, with an investment of 2.416 billion euros aimed at the modernization of irrigation and reducing water use. Planas also emphasized the importance of using non-conventional water sources, referring to recycled and desalinated water, and the development of new genetic innovation techniques.

Rural protests expanding

While some agricultural regions, particularly in Extremadura and Castilla y León, began protesting last week, these are expected to spread across the country this week. Spanish farmers demand changes in environmental regulations, more flexibility in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and assistance with drought.

Protests have already taken place in Valladolid, León, and at the Spanish-Portuguese border, where farmers blocked traffic on major highways. The fishing and aquaculture sector is also considering joining the protests, along with the transport sector.

Response to French criticism

In response to criticism from former French Minister Ségolène Royal regarding the quality of Spanish organic tomatoes, Planas stated that her comments were “not very opportune” and “out of order.” There is no reason to believe that Spanish organic tomatoes differ from those in France or the rest of Europe.

The Club of Spanish Exporters and Investors has called on the Spanish government to act “with the utmost determination” against attacks on trucks carrying Spanish agricultural exports to France, emphasizing that Spanish agri-food products fully comply with EU standards and do not constitute unfair competition.

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