The Valencian Association of Farmers (AVA-Asaja) has denounced that the first purchase and sale operations that begin with commercial operators for the next citrus campaign establish prices at origin that are up to 30% below the costs means of production.
The agrarian organization estimates that, in both oranges and mandarins, a typical producer would be losing 0.11 euros for each kilo sold at those prices. For the president of AVA-Asaja, Cristóbal Aguado, “these are amounts that lead producers to ruin.”
In order to stock up on enough fruit before a season in which a reduction in the harvest is expected due to adverse weather conditions, several private businesses are showing interest in buying, according to the agrarian organization in a statement.
In the case of the Navelina orange, they offer prices around €0.21/kg. However, the costs involved in growing oranges exceed €0.32/kg after having increased by 40% in the last two years, according to calculations by the agrarian organization based on data from the Valencian Institute of Agricultural Research ( IVIA) and the Ministry of Agriculture.
Shops also try to buy high-quality protected early clementines at €0.28/kg, compared to €0.39/kg for production costs.
The president of AVA-Asaja, Cristóbal Aguado, stated that “there are those who may think that it is a good price after the disaster of last season, when orange prices sank below €0.10/kg, But if we do the numbers, we see how all the costs have skyrocketed. These are amounts that lead producers to ruin.”
For this reason, the agrarian leader asks for “prudence and consistency regarding the sale price ” and also recommends “not to rush when selling the crops, especially in a campaign with a production that is expected to be short due to the lethal combination of bad conditions weather in spring.
Criticism of the administration
Regarding the message addressed to the administrations, Aguado warns that ” the law of the food chain is still not working and without responding to commercial abuses. Farmers, especially in perishable products, cannot pass on the escalation of costs because the The price is imposed from the top down. In the end, only the companies that depend on the producer benefit, causing the latter’s ruin.”
After the negative balance of the latest campaigns, Aguado calls on politicians to “get their act together because either they implement truly effective market measures that allow this trend to be redirected, or there will be an immediate, spectacular abandonment of no return tired of working hard and losing money, the older ones will stop spending their meager pension to maintain the fields and the few remaining young people will flee in search of a viable professional activity”.
During his recent appearance before the committee for the citrus sector of Les Corts Valencianes , the president of AVA-ASAJA underlined his “feeling tired of having to repeat the same thing so many times, which means that the political class has not done its homework for decades and continues without doing them. The only thing it seems interested in is approving environmental regulations that add bureaucracy and obstacles that induce more costs. Thus, what years ago seemed to me ignorance or cowardice, now I think is disinterest. Agricultural production is not in the political agenda, perhaps because there are no revolving doors here.
Aguado concludes that “those politicians who see low prices at source as a strictly agrarian problem are mistaken, since if they do not provide solutions, it will be society as a whole that will end up paying the consequences: more uncultivated land and pasture for the llamas, more depopulation in rural areas, more dependence on foreign imports with a higher carbon footprint and fewer guarantees of food security and health, and more loss of food sovereignty in a divided and decadent Europe”.