By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
A CONVOY of trucks carrying produce reached the Balearics yesterday morning after they were escorted on to ships in the ports of Valencia and Barcelona by police.

Spanish police yesterday escorted thousands of lorries carrying supplies to markets and cleared roads of blockades set up by hauliers striking over fuel prices as truck drivers were told to get back to work by the government but the unions last night urged truckers to continue strike action.

However, fresh food products were in short supply across the Balearics yesterday and central government delegate Ramon Socias said that it will take various days for the situation in the region's supermarkets to return to normal. Socias explained that the armed riot police have been deployed to ensure that any and all truck drivers wishing to end the strike and deliver their cargo can do so safely. The Balearic Federation of Transport Companies fears it will take longer for the Balearics to return to normal. Federation boss Salvador Servera said that it could take as long as two weeks for all food supplies and stocks to recover.

More cargo ships are expected to dock in the main Balearic ports today and, over the weekend, the fuel distributors are going to mount a major effort to restore fuel supplies.

But it was not all good news yesterday as a war broke out between the Majorcan Farmers Union and the hypermarket chains.
The Union accused the hypermarkets of preferring to let their storerooms run empty instead of purchasing local produce.
The Small Business Federation also joined the dispute claiming that the strike has demonstrated just how dependent the region is on imported produce suggesting that a greater effort should be made to encourage the purchase of local produce.

The association also believes that the government should provide incentives to help increase the levels of local production.

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