Over 200 farmers drove their tractors into Palma last Saturday to stage a mass protest against the government’s apparent lack of interest in their problem to stay alive in the face of mounting competition from other countries and the trend by the large supermarket chains to import increasing amounts of cheaper produce from all over the world. Spain is constantly looking for industries to rely on instead of tourism - this year could prove the litmus test because of the coronavirus outbreak which is taking its toll on tourism. And farming is no small part of the national economy.
Spain is the world’s most important fresh fruit and vegetable export country. Last year, it exported a record amount of these products - the UK, for example, is the largest market for Majorcan potatoes. This totalled 13,2 million tons valued at €13,5 billion.
In terms of quantity, this is seven percent more than in 2018. Just less than 93% of Spanish fruit and vegetables are sent to European Union (EU) countries.
On the one hand, this is good business, but why can’t farmers find a much greater domestic market? Because they are being undercut by imports from overseas which they want the government to regulate, cap even, in order to help the country’s farmers and families stay alive and have a future. Play your part and buy local.