UPA-UCE Extremadura has demanded this Wednesday that the tobacco industry not pay farmers below production costs, estimated at around 4.60 – 4.70 euros per kilogram, in a campaign “very complicated by the climatology” for a sector that has already recorded losses of 30 million euros this year, as indicated by the general secretary of the agricultural organization, Ignacio Huertas.
As he explained in a press conference, this crop has been “very damaged” by the torrential rains in May, which have caused 4,500 hectares to be damaged, of which 1,300 hectares had to be planted. This has meant a total loss of production on said surface of 4.5 million kilos, to which must be added the drop in production of the rest.
“This has generated serious losses for the tobacco growers, because even though they were fortunately insured, where the crop has been grown the compensation represents 40% of the real value of the production,” Huertas warned. Furthermore, he added, “those who have continued with cultivation in many cases will not receive compensation and, in others, the insurance will not respond to the real losses they will have.”
Consequently, these losses will mean a drastic drop in the contracted production from 21.6 million to finally 12 million kilos, which translates into 30 million euros for the tobacco producers who “will only recover a small part through Insurance”.
As the general secretary of UPA-UCE has indicated, to all this is added that “the international tobacco market is having a positive situation with an increase in demand, which has caused prices to rise significantly in countries such as Italy, to adapt to costs. This is why it has called on industries to review the prices to be paid for Extremaduran tobacco so that production costs are covered, estimated this year at around 4.60 – 4.70 euros per kilo.
Likewise, it has once again insisted on the obligation to register contracts in the online Agri-Food Registry before the start of deliveries, on September 18. Otherwise, he has warned, not only will the Food Chain Law be breached, but the industry will run the risk of being unviable given the progressive abandonment of growers. In fact, he has indicated, in the last five years there has been a reduction in contracted production of more than 25%, going from the 29 million kilos registered in 2018 to 21 million in 2023.
You help the cherry
Finally, the general secretary of UPA-UCE has described as “clearly insufficient” the amount of 1.4 million euros approved by the regional Executive in aid for the cherry sector in the north of Cáceres, a measure that complements the 8 million approved by the national government.
Despite this, he has requested that said aid be allocated to self-employed farmers – since they are the true professionals who make a living from this activity – and has insisted on asking the Extremadura Regional Government to begin managing this call “as soon as possible”, so that producers can receive financial support from the Administrations as soon as possible.