The Extremadura countryside has launched a new SOS to the administrations in search of solutions to the problems that have been going on for two years, such as low prices and the increase in production costs, now aggravated by the drought, especially for farmers in the region. Orellana Channel.
They do so grouped in the Platform ‘In defense of our countryside’, formed by Asaja; The Union Extremadura; Aseprex; Agryga; Farmers of Don Benito, and the Association of Farmers of the Jerte Valley and Regions, who this Friday have called for a road block and have announced a large demonstration at the Feval de Don Benito on March 2 on the occasion of the inauguration of Agroexpo .
“If they come to take the photo, we will blow up Feval,” said Luis Cortés, from La Unión Extremadura, as an example of the feelings of these organizations that demand the urgent convening of the drought table, in which all the actors involved participate. such as farmers, cooperatives, hydrographic confederation, even town councils, to be able to give some certainty to the sector.
And there are farmers, such as tomato farmers, who still do not know if they can plant for this campaign because they do not know the water they will have, when contracts with the industry must be signed this Monday.
The first planned protest will be next Tuesday, February 22, at the roundabout at the intersection of the N-430 highway and the regional highway between Don Benito and Miajadas. A road block for which this Friday they will request authorization from the Government Delegation, as they have announced, and which they will carry out while the drought table is not convened.
Responsibility of the Department
These organizations have made the decision to take a step further in their demands and take to the streets again after the response of the Ministry of Agriculture to their demands, which they consider to be throwing “balls out” by transferring the issue to the Ministry of Agriculture. to which he has requested tax benefits for those affected.
And, according to Cortés, they are “kidding” them when they tell them that such a drought table cannot be established to reach agreements, since in the 1994 drought it was already done when Francisco Amarillo was advisor.
For his part, Juan Metidieri, from Apag Extremadura Asaja, has pointed out that these protests are not decided “on a whim, but out of necessity”, and because the countryside, “far from improving, is getting worse”, with respect to the protests already carried out. at the beginning of last December, about which he regretted the “null” response offered by the president of the Board, Guillermo Fernández Vara.
Thus, he has pointed out that to the problems of low prices and increased costs at that time, there is now added the “uncertainty” of the irrigation campaign that is now beginning and without knowing the water they will have available for their crops.
Natalia García-Camacho Banda, from the Professional Association of Farmers and Ranchers of Don Benito and Comarca, has made an appeal to the entire society of Extremadura, while the primary sector is “the first piece of the domino”, and if this If affected, the rest will fall behind.
Along the same lines, Herminio Íñiguez Sánchez, from Agryga, has pointed out that the region as a whole must be raised aware because if farmers do not plant, consequently other sectors such as commerce, workshops or hospitality will be affected.
According to their calculations, 60,000 hectares are at risk due to lack of water, which represents a direct impact of 200 million euros for farmers.
Juan Francisco Rodríguez Chamorro, president of Aseprex, has focused on the problem that is coming to the region if rice and tomatoes are not finally planted in Las Vegas Altas, two crops on which many jobs depend, but he has also called for increase the allocation of water that allows stone fruit production in the area, which has 15,000 hectares.
Chamorro warns that if they only have water to keep the trees alive but not enough to produce, “many jobs” will be lost in the area, both directly related to these productions and indirectly, which is why he hopes to see banners from all sectors in the protest on February 22.
Another sector that they consider should be there is the cooperatives, which Ángel García Blanco has encouraged to participate, while their partners, the farmers, “are risking the future,” and with them, the survival of the rural environment. “If the countryside dies, the towns die,” he has remarked.
So, “less silly dialogues, and more measures on the table,” García Blanco has claimed, because the farmers are not “to wait” for a response from Brussels within 15 days when the Ministry brings the demands forwarded by the Department of Agriculture.
Orellana asks the rest of the irrigators for generosity
Finally, Cortés has gone further in his claims by asking the rest of the Guadiana irrigator communities to be “generous” with the irrigators of the Orellana canal community, those most affected by the scarcity of water and its distribution due to the penalties for use from previous years.
The leader of La Unión has also suggested the participation in the negotiations of the town councils, to which the irrigators pay their taxes, and that “we do not feel like paying” if they cannot irrigate their crops, which means giving up the production of the campaign when they are, he pointed out, suffocated by debt.