The Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, came yesterday on a tour of Seville with Andalusian farmers on the warpath for the decree that accelerates the convergence between farmers from the same productive region (there are 50 in Spain). He was first in the UPA Andalusia congress, where Cristóbal Cano was elected secretary general (until now secretary in Jaén), replacing Miguel Cobo; later in Canal Sur for an interview and finally met with the agricultural associations Asaja, COAG, UPA and Cooperativas Agro-Alimentarias.
It is the first time that the minister has met with the Andalusian sector since on October 8 it demanded a meeting after verifying that the draft of the decree could be very detrimental to the interests of many farmers. And, at least according to the perception of some of the attendees, he maintained a more open attitude to dialogue. Juan Rafael Leal, president of Cooperativas Agro-Alimentarias admits “a good feeling” at the meeting and affirms that Planas promises that Andalusia will not lose funds in the final photograph of the CAP. If this is the case, due to convergence, it will be compensated with eco-schemes (payments for the good conservation of the environment) more adapted to the Andalusian model and redistributive payments (capping).
However, the Government maintains the convergence decree, the aid for 2021 and 2022, and only accepts to negotiate 2022 in conjunction with the period of the new CAP, until 2027. This factor is what leads the field to continue with the mobilizations. Ricardo Serra, president of Asaja, calls for “facts” and not just a better climate, something that he believes is being produced by “the pressure and unity of action in the sector.” For Serra, in reality “nothing has changed.” “The minister cannot be the referee, he has to make proposals, we need to know how he foresees the model of regions to be configured”, something that is fundamental for the future configuration of the CAP since it will depend on whether there is more or less transfer between communities.
The new secretary general of UPA Andalucía made his debut, on the other hand, producing a crack in the unity of action in the sector. The organization led by Cristóbal Cano – who had initially been in favor of convergence but later changed his position when checking the data – did not sign the statement from Asaja, COAG and Cooperativas Agro-Alimentarias – very similar to the notes of the recent weeks – not agreeing with some of their points, including the mention that “80,000 farmers will lose (due to convergence) at least 10% in two years” and half and about 40,000 between 20% and 40%; and the allusion to the reduction from 50 to 5 or 7 regions “that the Ministry provides,” according to the note. Cristóbal Cano affirms that these two allusions do not conform to the truth and adds that he will launch his own statement today. In any case, UPA is against the convergence decree and calls for “positive discrimination” mechanisms to favor livestock and woody crops with little surface area and high rights.