Half a thousand farmers called up by the agricultural organization COAG were in El Ejido (Almería) recently to protest against the German distribution chains, accusing them of setting prices way below production costs. The productive sector suffered, in the last decade, a drop of 18 points in its profit level, while continuing to invest in the modernization of systems and quality controls for products, according to the syndicate.
Farmers gathered close to the company that commercializes fruits and vegetables at 10 am, and from there went to several German food chains – Aldi and Lidl – and a French one – Dia – forcing them to close their shops. By Aldi, demonstrators threw cucumber boxes, to protest against its low price. Courgette, tomato and peppers are some of the other products affected by a drop in prices.
“German companies are causing this situation and also the European agricultural policies”, said the Secretary General of COAG, Miguel López, leader of the protest next to the the province secretary and national speaker for fruits and vegetables, Andrés Góngora. For him, Almería, one of the main producing regions of tomato in the world, “lost negotiating capacity as prices are already set by these chains” that, according to him “threat the disappearance of the sector”.
Yesterday was the second day of protest set up by COAG, this month. Last Saturday, the whole sector went on strike and announced similar actions for December. Reaction or not, since Monday, distribution chains raised moderately the price paid to producers, some 20 cents per kilo.