Another blow to agriculture from Brussels

The European Union (EU) decided to nudge agriculture in Alicante as well, just in the midst of a storm over the disastrous consequences of cutting off the Tajo-Segura transfer. And it did so through the new Community Agricultural Policy (PAC) reform that came into effect in January. could result in a reduction of 16m euros in aid received by the sector., which means leaving them almost in half. Tightening enforcement and new environmental demands threaten to exclude hundreds of farmers from this subsidy program, posing a serious risk to the viability of their farms. Farmers will also be affected by the approved changes.

The PAC was founded in 1962 to support the agriculture and livestock sector and helps increase the profitability of certain farms that would not be economically sustainable without this support. good yes In recent years the complaints had been passed de facto unanimously in the state.The new guidelines for this exercise have only deepened this aspect, given the benefits of large plantations at the expense of the smaller areas prevailing in Alicante.

Lorenzo Chinchilla, economist and technician from Asaja, said, “With this new OTP, many farmers who have received aid so far will be left outespecially because they are required to be registered as self-employed in the agricultural regime, while small plots, part-time farmers and self-employed in the general regime dominate in our province, devoting themselves to other activities ».

Phytosanitary treatment in an area with orange and lemon trees assets


The expert also points out that although voluntary, farmers should benefit from so-called eco-regimes, that is, environmental requirements. And he claims that otherwise they would lose 25% of the benefit from the get-go after the green payment is removed. But the matter does not end there, for Chinchilla adds, «applying these regimes will mean more costs on the farm and crops are very likely to have a lower yield., with a cut in revenue from different concepts of OTP. Among the applications to be made are rotation, direct sowing and vegetable or inert covers in woody products. Also, when it comes to livestock, extensive grazing practices on pasture surfaces and their sustainable mowing.

pruning

Another controversial issue is No cutting and pruning of trees and hedges between March and Augustdirectly damaging the citrus and olive groves, which are the two iconic products of the province.

To all this should be added a digital bookkeeping requirement for both farmers and ranchers to record operations and phytosanitary practices every two weeksthey will need more advanced technologies or continuous support from managers for this purpose.

Chinchilla calculates that the implementation of all these requirements will reduce the perception of aid in half, leaving about 16m euros on the road.

After getting an overview of the dangerous consequences this OTP can have, it’s time to land. Ricardo Ferri is a grain producer in the l’Alcoià region that is obviously self-destructive. “We’re going to have to use 10 percent of legumes like lentils and peas as fertilizer later on if we want help,” he explains. The problem is that they are products with no commercial point of sale, so it’s money lost.». In addition, there is also the necessity of having a digital notebook, which he underlines will be a problem “especially for seniors who do not know how to deal with new technologies. The truth is, they make it more complicated for us every time ».

Regarding animal husbandry, Juan Luis Gimeno, owner of a goat farm in Monóvar, explains that the aid allocated to the so-called basic rights, namely the farmers who have devoted their whole lives to this profession, will gain a lot. cut it in half. Everything is in a dynamic that has been carried out in recent years and gives priority to intensive farms to the detriment of semi-intensives who are the majority in the province. “The result of all this – sadly – the destruction of the industry, because, Aside from the absence of a generational change, they force us to work at a loss.».

With all this, José Vicente Andreu, president of Asaja Alicante, claims that the new PAC “does not depend on productivity or improve the quality of our crops, and its unreasonable environmental and digital requirements will leave many farmers out because they are not.” it can adapt to new obligations and complicates bureaucracy. In this sense, the agricultural organization argues: «It is a direct attack on farm workers in an environment where less and less money is coming from Europe.».

Carles Peris, secretary general of La Unió, also thinks that the CAP will be negative for the Valencian Community in general and the province of Alicante in particular. “The new requirements – he emphasizes – will make aid harder to access to small farms that are ours. In fact, already The largest ones, such as those in Andalusia, have long been benefiting and deepening in the same direction.».

Regional Agriculture Secretary Roger Llanes is more cautious. From the outset, he points out that the new CAP has a larger environmental component, describing it as “something we can agree on as long as there is reciprocity with regard to third countries”. Regarding the funds, the Valencia Community’s «If we can adapt to these demands, we should attract more aid globally.», although it also acknowledges that “there are regions that need to adapt more than others”. However, he points out that we will have to wait until the end of the process to evaluate the changes adopted by the EU.

Transition to phytosanitary products

The new PAC, which has just come into force, places special emphasis on sustainability and respect for the environment, which, according to Asaja, means farmers have to reduce their phytosanitary products by more than half, while imposing barriers to the use of phytosanitary products. fertilizers. José Vicente Andreu, head of the agricultural organization in Alicante, confirms that these restrictions “make us even more vulnerable to third countries”. And, in his words, “when it comes to competing on an equal footing and guaranteeing phytosanitary safety, new demands go against the principle of reciprocity and therefore the food security of citizens will be more compromised. At the same time, lower crops, which may affect the price of our fruits and vegetables.” efficiency is expected.

Grain producer Ricardo Ferri does not hesitate to state that the new regulations coming out of Brussels are contradictory with similar expressions. “On the one hand, they emphasize the need for direct cultivation as less soil is degraded, and on the other hand, they deprive us of phytosanitary products when it is necessary to protect crops from pests and ensure a certain profitability in our country work” .

Source: Informacion

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