Spain: Agricultural producers ask Brussels to investigate market distortions
Staff Writer |
The agricultural organizations Asaja, COAG and UPA have agreed that Brussels should investigate the market distortions caused by a few agents, linked to large distribution chains, which control 80% of the purchases of summer fruit in Europe.
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This was communicated to the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment (Mapama) at the fruit and vegetables sectoral meeting, which took stock of the situation of the stone fruit, watermelon and melon campaigns and of the promotions to increase the consumption of these foods.
The technical director for fruits and vegetables at Asaja, José Ugarrio, has described a number of large German and British buyers, "which have an influence on the shaping of market prices against free competition," as an "oligopoly."
"The campaign has so far been anomalous in terms of prices," he pointed out, before explaining that "there is a good quality production, a lot of demand and nothing in store," which in his opinion should not translate into the low prices received by the producers, and which demonstrates that "the supply and demand system is having no influence."
The Secretary of Agriculture at UPA Murcia, Antonio Moreno, who also participated in the meeting, has estimated that Spanish producers have been selling at a loss for almost two months.
"The problem, which is also affecting French and Italian producers, comes from the fact that four or five brokers in the German area concentrate between 70 and 80% of the purchases of stone fruit and apples and set the prices they want," he stated.
"We have asked the Mapama and the European Commission to act, as this near-monopolistic situation undermines the free market rules" and hampers the organization of "powerful trade missions with European funds" to find new markets outside the EU.
Moreno also pointed out that UPA has also asked the Ministry to "continue to fight" for measures to support the withdrawal in compensation of the Russian veto to EU horticultural imports, which has been imposed for political reasons outside the sector. ■