Spain: The cherry sector in Extremadura loses 70 million euro

Spain: The cherry sector in Extremadura loses 70 million euro

Dozens of farmers traveled to Merida where they symbolically dumped 500 kilos of cherries at the gates of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, Population, and Territory last week, to protest the losses caused by the storms registered at the beginning of the harvest and claim direct aid. The action was convened by La Unión de Extremadura and the Association of the Jerte Valley and Northern Regions.
Image source: launionextremadura.es

La Unión estimates the sector’s losses at almost 70 million euro and recalled that the productions were not insured because the conditions of Agroseguro are not viable for these small high mountain farmers.

Its regional leader, Luis Cortes, has demanded 10 million in direct aid for the sector to help alleviate the nearly 5,000 families that live from this activity in the north of Cáceres.

The agrarian leader insisted that they do not want loans or the declaration of a catastrophic zone. According to Luis Cortes, the acting Executive of Extremadura has the capacity to approve direct aid to cherry producers, of the order of 4,000 euro per hectare; an aid that can be immediately ratified by the Extremaduran Parliament.

He stressed that these farmers need direct aid, just as they are going to be given to cereal farmers and ranchers due to drought, and improvements in insurance for successive years.

If they do not receive a response to their demands, Cortes said, the producers would continue to protest and carry out roadblocks in the regions of Jerte, La Vera, Ambroz, and Las Hurdes.

Nearly 300,000 lost wages
He also said that some 300,000 wages have been lost in the Jerte Valley in this cherry harvesting campaign.

Jose Luis Vicente, a farmer from La Vera, said that the sector usually harvests 9 to 10 million kilos of cherries a year. “This year, we’ve lost everything. So all the families that the sector usually employs have also run out of work.”

Source: efe.com/extremadura and freshplaza.com

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