Massive fruit give-away in farmers' rebellion

5th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

5 August 2005, MADRID – Spanish farmers have started giving away free fruit to shoppers in a determined rebellion against the power of the big distributors.

5 August 2005

MADRID – Spanish farmers have started giving away free fruit to shoppers in a determined rebellion against the power of the big distributors.

On Thursday, the Union of Small Farmers (UPA) gave away 20,000kg of free fruit in Madrid's Plaza Mayor. Members said they were protesting against "the abusive commercial margins of the large-scale distribution in the fruit and vegetable sector". Members want to see "fair prices for all".

Madrid residents queued for as long as an hour and a half to take home their share of fresh produce, which included pears, cherries from Valle del Jerte and melons from Miajada. Some shoppers left with bag-fulls valued at EUR 12.

The unusual demonstration was aimed at showing consumers that farmers are not benefiting from rises in the price of fruit.

"We can't understand that we are paid 17 cents for cherries and that the consumer can't find them on the market for less than EUR 2 when the only cost the distributors assume is the cost of the transport," said UPA's general secretary Lorenzo Ramos.

"The solution to such a difficult situation would be a large pact between the fruit and vegetable sector and the business people, or the introduction of a law on commercial margins, like that in France where prices of origin and at the destination are set down and no one loses."

UPA claims in some parts of Extramadura small producers have abandoned their harvests. "This year the producer is earning five times less for a kilo of cherries or peaches than last season, although this fall is not being reflected in prices for the consumer," added Ramos.

While the fruit was handed out in Madrid, UPA members shouted: "Somos los agricultures, no los atracadores. Esta fruta no nos da dinero, pore so la regalamos." (We're the farmers, not the bandits. This fruit doesn't make us money, so we are giving it away.)

UPA says it intends to repeat its demonstration in other parts of Spain in the coming weeks.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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