In the middle of a majestic avenue and across the representations of the European Commission and European Parliament in Madrid, COAG- one of the most important farmers unions in Spain- held their Press Conference and protest on CAP. Surrounded by colourful agricultural products from all over Spain and a huge banner reading ” Agriculture is Food”, the whole Executive body of COAG and all their regional general secretaries, 30 people in total, announced their farmers’ mobilisations against the current proposal of Common Agriculture Policy.
Today’s action marked the beginning of a campaign that will see a series of protests, this Autumn, on current CAP reform and for a more social agricultural model. In case of the approval of the current CAP proposal, COAG rung the bell with regards the risks entailed for our agriculture production and the threatening food crisis.
Miguel Blanco, the General Secretary of COAG, announced that this event is in solidarity with the GOOD FOOD MARCH, that tomorrow will celebrate its finale in Brussels. So tomorrow, I will meet again several members of the COAG executive Body amidst the hundreds of marchers that will arrive outside the European Parliament calling for a radical farming reform.
As they stressed, this CAP is a threat to the spanish dairy and other livestock sectors, as well as sugar beets, horticulture, cereals, potatoes, wine and so on.
Especially, in the midst of a global food crisis that is moving towards the developed countries mainly due to the the deregulation of the markets and the financial speculation on agricultural commodities COAG asserted that it is suicidal to defend a CAP that will dismantle a substantial portion of our production system agriculture.
According to Miguel Blanco, “If you close the door to our agriculture, you open the doors wide to the food crisis.” and he added ” it is about defending our agriculture as a strategic sector, therefore, it is a matter that concerns the spanish government. Defending our agriculture food we defend the food security for the whole of society.“
COAG warned that food dependency lead to the rise of basic food prices in the medium term, that’s why it is strategic to maintain our agricultural production potential. They also alerted that the current unsustainable situation on the increase of prices of agricultural inputs such as diesel, fertilizers, electricity and above all animal feed. Only in the case of soybeans, the price has skyrocketed 78% in the last twelve months. This has lead to an unsustainable situation to all the spanish livestock sectors.
Therefore COAG’s mobilisations are asking for another model of agricultural and food policy. Their main demands include: appropriate regulation of markets, profitable prices for the farmers, maintainance of the production quotas and rights, regulation of the food chain, defence of the Community preference principle, import controls, an aid policy aiming at promoting agricultural employment and a rural development policy that promotes agriculture, local transformation and the inclusion of youth and women.
Apparently, the food that was brought to the protest (5,000 kg of staple foods milk, sugar, oil, fruits and vegetables) will be delivered as a gesture of solidarity to the Food Bank of Madrid, to help alleviate situations of extreme need.
So Autumn will be hot for the CAP negotiations in Spain and will report again soon.
Myrto Pispini, ARC web correspondant for Spain and Greece.