ANGRY farmers complaining about unfair competition caused by cheap non-EU imports took to the streets of Valencia City on Friday.
Over 220 tractors led the protest that snarled up city centre streets with around 1,500 people joining them on foot, according to government estimates.
Demonstration organisers had hoped for around 500 vehicles and 8,000 protestors to take part.
Farmers criticised the national and Valencian governments for not listening to them over cheap imports that don’t have the same quality control that EU-grown products have.
Citrus farmers have expressed concern in recent years over imports flooding the Spanish market that have caused orange and lemon prices to fall to record levels.
In some cases it has been more economically for local crops to simply rot away due to the unfair competition from countries like Brazil and South Africa.
The end of the protest route saw several farmers throw produce from their tractors onto the Plaza del Temple including oranges, lettuce, cereals, onions, wine, and milk.
Valencian Association of Farmers president, Cristobal Aguado, warned that ‘the future of farming is in danger’ due price cutting with local producers having to sell crops well below the cost of planting and growing them.
“Mediterranean agriculture must have a future as land is abandoned and with no young people in the sector and farmers facing ruin,” added Aguado.
Valencian Business Confederation president, Salvador Navarro, called for ‘dignifying’ the farming profession after all their efforts during the pandemic to prevent shortages.
Navarro also appealed to shoppers to recognise their work by paying the price they deserve for produce.
Another demonstration is scheduled to take place in Alicante City on March 10 ahead of a planned descent on Madrid ten days later.
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