Extremadura cigar makers return to the mobilizations. The sector has supported in a majority way to initiate protest actions to claim for the low prices they are receiving this year for their productions, despite the increase in costs that has reduced profitability. On Monday they will start a week of unemployment in the deliveries of tobacco in the two work centers of Cetarsa (in Talayuela and Navalmoral) and there will also be a concentration at the gates of the Talayuela factory at 12 noon on that first day of protest, as agreed in the assembly that was held yesterday Wednesday at the Talayuela house of culture, convened by the agricultural organizations UPA UCE and Asaja Extremadura and by Cooperativas Agroalimentarias. The attendance of producers and the support for the protests was “massive”, according to the organizers, and some of the participants had to follow the debate from outside the building.
The stoppage of tobacco deliveries is the first of the actions contemplated, due to the impact that this has on the stoppage of Cetarsa’s activity. Along with that, next week Meetings will be requested with the president of the Junta de Extremadura, Guillermo Fernandez Vara, and with that of the Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales SEPI, the president of the (SEPI), Belén Gualda González, to convey this price problem to them, the need to establish a multi-year contracting commitment (since tobacco producers will have to commit to the new PAC to maintain production for several years) of a way that guarantees for the future are given to their farms.
The organizations linked to the agricultural sector had summoned the tobacco growers to an assembly to jointly decide the steps to take, after the silence that they say they received in response to the administration and Cetarsa to the request that they were transferred days ago to both, to constitute a negotiating table before the problems that now “threaten” the future of the sector, once the new CAP scenario has been resolved.
The first is the one that has to do with the low prices they are receiving this year for their productions, below those they received in the heavy year despite the fact that production costs have increased due to the rise in energy prices and fertilizers. The sector is immersed in a collection campaign in which they are receiving between 2.20 and 2.30 euros per kilo of blond tobacco, when the production costs have been 2.75 euros, as they explain. “If prices fail, it is impossible for the cigar makers to have a future,” they argue as the cause of the new mobilizations.
Protests a year later
Just a year ago, tobacco producers also began a calendar of protests in November. So the reason was the threat of being left out of the CAP’s strategic plan with the region itself and the aid linked to it. The path was similar to the one they present now. First, they also paralyzed the deliveries of tobacco to processing centers, but the lack of responses led them to take tougher actions months later and they ended up cutting the A-5 as it passed through Navalmoral in February.
Now that scenario is also contemplated, although in a more immediate way. If no relief measure for the sector is materialized after the first protest and negotiation actions announced, they will raise the roadblocks within a month, as indicated this Wednesday.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.