Berry producers demand the Ministry guarantees the health and economic viability of their crops

A total of 750 berry producers in the province of Huelva have signed letters addressed to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food (MAPA), Luis Planas, in which they ask the government authorizes using plant protection products to combat pests in berries crops, as has been done in previous campaigns and as other EU countries, such as Italy, Greece, and Portugal, are doing.

The request, which Freshuelva had transferred to the Ministry during the course of the Spanish-French-Italian-Portuguese Joint Committee (in which it is a member of the Strawberry Contact Group) that was recently held in Lisbon, is also being supported by farmers from other organizations such as Asaja, Agricultural-Food Cooperatives of Andalusia, and UPA Huelva.

In their letters, the farmers urged the government to guarantee the health and economic viability of their crops, which generate more than 100,000 jobs in the province of Huelva, and to authorize the use of the formulas necessary for the work of soil disinfection in strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry crops.

"The strawberry produced in Huelva comes from plants that have been obtained in the high altitude nurseries located in Castille and Leon, whose sanitary conditions must be optimal so that, once planted in Huelva, they produce fruit of the highest quality. All this is achieved, among other measures, with disinfection work prior to the planting of the mother plant, which plays a fundamental role in the entire production cycle," the farmers emphasized.

In addition, they stated, "the government has decided to authorize tobacco producers to use the necessary plant protection products for disinfection, which means they're not being treated equally to other crops and Spanish production areas." According to the producers, this puts them at a disadvantage because the use of these products, which Spain doesn't authorize, is authorized in southern European countries, such as Portugal, Greece, and Italy; all of which are subject to the same legislative scope and Community Regulation 1107/2009.

"If the government doesn't authorize us to use these products we'll be at a competitive disadvantage compared with the productions of third countries and with countries in the southern European area (Italy, Greece, Portugal) that are granting exceptional uses to safeguard the interests of their producers and their products as their productions compete with ours in the main European markets," they stated.

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