“Our concern -he specifies- is to ensure supply, beyond the price increase, to have a sufficient quantity for animal feed”
The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, wanted to send a message of “tranquility” to citizens by ensuring that in Spain “there is no risk” of food shortages “in the short term” due to the impact of the war between Ukraine and Russia, which are two major producers of cereals and oilseeds in the world.
«I want to convey a message of tranquility and serenity to the citizens. There is no risk of short-term food shortages. Our concern is to ensure supply, beyond the price increase, to have a sufficient quantity for animal feed”, assured the Minister of Agriculture at the end of the meeting of the Agricultural Advisory Committee, in which representatives have been of the agrarian organizations Asaja, Coag and UPA.
However, the minister specified that feed, livestock feed and the availability of fertilizers due to “the price situation” could lead to “lower availability”.
Planas has also wanted to convey another message of calm to farmers and ranchers, that the complicated situation they are going through due to the increase in costs, the drought, has been joined by the war.
“Tell them that we are working hand in hand, in a united way, to ensure that their interests are preserved. It is the difference of having a Law of the Food Chain to not having it, that we can consider the burden and the distribution of that burden that responds to each one between the different links”, he stressed, on the distribution of cost increases.
Planas has specified that Spain’s exhibition is basically in the Ukraine, from where it imports 22% of corn (2.7 million tons), sunflower cake (68%) and half a million tons of sunflower oil.
The head of Agriculture has recognized the complicated situation that the agrarian sector is going through due to the armed conflict. “The next planting campaign is already in danger, so production may drop drastically. In addition, if the issue of energy and fertilizers is added, we face a prolonged scenario of high prices of ‘inputs’ in agricultural production », he warned.
As detailed by the minister at a press conference, Spain currently has stocks of corn, which is concentrated in the port of Tarragona, 45 days old. “We must look for alternative places of supply and it will be easier if the EU adopts the measures that Spain has requested,” he stressed.
At the meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers, which took place yesterday, Planas requested some measures such as flexibility in the CAP to have a larger planting area, especially in the case of corn, as well as facilitating in an “exceptional” way » and «temporarily» greater access to raw materials from other countries such as Argentina, Canada or the United States, in addition to mobilizing the response mechanism for the security of the food crisis and other forums such as the FAO or the G-20.
The head of Agriculture has reiterated that the conflict in Ukraine is an “exceptional situation in which it is necessary to adopt exceptional measures.” “We have to rise to the occasion because it is a situation that will last regardless of the war, and we have to express our solidarity with the people of Ukraine and guarantee their food supply,” he stressed.
Tomorrow the measures against the drought will be known
At the meeting of the agrarian advisory committee, the issue of drought was also addressed, which is having a negative impact on the Spanish countryside and which has led the Ministry to convene the Drought Table for this Friday to deal with all the agrarian organizations and representatives of the autonomous communities the reality of farmers and ranchers.
“Tomorrow we will present at the meeting of the Drought Table measures on liquidity and taxation on which we have been working and we hope to culminate in the coming days,” Planas advanced, regarding the proposals that the Government will bring to the meeting tomorrow.
The head of Agriculture has also specified that there are other instruments such as agricultural insurance and the CAP itself to mitigate the effects that it is producing, as well as the specific measures that he requested from the EU a week ago.
In the meeting with the agrarian organizations, the regulation of bovine farms was also discussed, where Planas reiterated the “government’s will to prevent abnormally large farms from existing in Spain to preserve family and professional livestock”.
“We have already made a public presentation of the draft of the Royal Decree, we are still talking to the sector in order to find an agreement, but I want to underline that the will is to achieve competitive and profitable operations”, he stressed.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.