Thousands of Spanish farmers protest low prices

21st November 2009, Comments 0 comments

Thousands of Spanish farmers on Saturday marched through the streets of Madrid, halting traffic to protest the low prices they receive for their produce which they say is leading them to financial "ruin."

Madrid - Thousands of Spanish farmers on Saturday marched through the streets of Madrid, halting traffic to protest the low prices they receive for their produce which they say is leading them to financial "ruin."

The farmers and their supporters came from across the country and they walked behind tractors along Madrid's main avenues under banners with the theme "The countryside is heading towards ruin, take action."

"Prices must be held steady. Producing a kilogramme of olives costs me three times more than the price they are sold for," a farmer from the southwestern region of Extremadura, Antonio Sanchez, told AFP.

Spain's largest farmers federations -- the ASAJA, COAG and UPA which organised the demonstration -- say farmers suffered a 26 percent drop in real income between 2003 and 2008, while their costs rose by 34 percent during this time leading to the loss of 124,000 jobs.

They want the government to guarantee the minimum prices paid for their products by commercial middlemen who they say are taking too high a cut and limits on prices rises for fuel, fertilisers and pesticides.

"The cauliflower which I sell for 30 cents is resold for EUR 1.50 in the supermarket. Profits must be shared, its unjust," said Fernando Ambros Carpi who runs a farming cooperative near the southern town of Arco de la Frontera.

Spain's agriculture sector accounts for around three percent of the nation's gross domestic product.

AFP/Expatica

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