The agrarian organizations La Unión, Asomanca, Asolite, Asociación del Valle del Jerte and Comarcas Norteñas have organized a demonstration this Monday in Villanueva de la Sierra. According to them, around 500 people have gathered at the town’s main roundabout to ask that the area’s industrialists pay for the olives above production costs. “We reject the blackmail and mafia practices of these industrialists in the purchase of olives,” the state coordinator of La Unión, Luis Cortés, tells HOY.
According to him, they requested the demonstration two weeks ago, although they understood that it was not going to take place because the agreement with the relevant cooperatives was going well. “They were correct prices,” he emphasizes.
«But five industrialists specifically have violated free competition: they cannot agree among themselves to pay below production costs, it is illegal. Furthermore, with mafia practices, because other industrialists have left the area due to threats,” he accuses. Apparently, industrialists from Seville and Almendralejo would have gone to the area, without much success.
Hence, Cortes warns that they will not be willing to establish prices lower than production costs and that, otherwise, they will file complaints in the Competition Court. “The reference should be 1.18 euros per kilogram, and it will not be sold for less,” he assures. «If in a year in which we can earn money we do not do so, no one will want to be active or have traditional olive groves. We understand that it cannot be allowed. “If we want the region to exist, for new generations to dedicate themselves to this, we cannot accept these practices,” he insists.
“It is selling for 80 cents on average”
For his part, Cristian Gómez, secretary of Asomanca, points out that they are receiving prices that were given in the 80s. “These are the olive prices that my father had. Now, in 2023, the standard of living has risen and prices are not passed on. It is being sold at 80 cents on average when the production cost study by the Junta and the University of Extremadura was at 83 cents per kilo. We urge the public administration to see what is being done and we ask for distinction by territory », he declares.
Furthermore, Gómez regrets that everything they invest in one harvest is given to the next, that they do not earn enough money. «We do not have any type of benefit and we cannot enter into the negotiation between industrialist and farmer. That’s why we ask that everyone agree on a decent price. We demand 1.18 euros but, as in any negotiation, we can talk,” he says.
Similarly, he also accuses industrialists in the area of ”bridging” prices. “And those who wanted to pay a fair price were not allowed,” he says.
«I am a young farmer who started in 2013. I don’t see the future at all certain. “Future generations will not be able to work the traditional olive grove.”