COSTA Blanca orange farmers are up in arms over government plans to raise IVA taxes on sugary drinks from 10% to 21%, which will include juice products.

The Valencian Association of Farmers (AVA-ASAJA) described the move as ‘a real nonsense’ and predicted ‘dire consequences’ for local fruit growers.

AVA president, Cristobal Aguado said: “Drinking orange juice is strongly recommended by nutrition experts due to its exceptional qualities in a balanced diet.”

The group said that if a tax rise is imposed, it would hit the image of orange juice being seen as a ‘healthy food’.

It also warned that a price hike would lead to lower demand from customers and that cheap producers from countries like Brazil would benefit by undercutting current orange prices.

A PwC study commissioned by agricultural and food groups claims that a new sugar tax would mean losses of between €14 to €43 million per year for Spain’s farmers.

Food manufacturers could lose as much as €82 million per annum, the survey concluded.

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