May 22, 2022 7:22 pm

COAG demands Garzón more controls on imports from third countries and compete on equal terms




the minister of consumption Alberto Garzon He continued this Tuesday with his approach to the agricultural and livestock sector, after his controversial statements in ‘The Guardian’ about Spanish meat for which he has earned the censorship of the entire production branch. After its meeting last Thursday with the Union of Small Farmers (UPA), today it was the turn of the Coordinator of Farmers and Ranchers Organizations (COAG). Its general secretary Miguel Padilla has criticized in statements made after the meeting with the also leader of the United Left (IU) “the criminalization” of Spanish meat and assured that “complies with the most demanding regulation in the world” referring to European legislation. In this sense, he has demanded that, as a member of the Government, he promote greater controls on merchandise from third countries so that they comply with community standards and, in this way, compete on an equal footing.

As an example, you mentioned the example of the meat imports from Mercosur – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela – when this trade agreement is ratified. “This is going to be a clash with meat produced in the European Union”, has maintained Padilla who has also invited Garzón to visit ‘semi-intensive’ or ‘semi-extensive’ farms.

In this regard, according to COAG’s technical services, the entry into force of the trade agreement with Mercosur – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela – would have a negative impact of 2,700 million euros per year (20% of the final livestock production). The trade agreement with Mercosur was reached on June 28, 2019, after more than two decades of negotiations, although its ratification by countries such as France is currently blocked. In it, among other provisions, the doors of the community market are opened to 99,000 tons of beef (55% strawberry meat and 45% frozen meat with a duty of 7.5%) progressively over the next six years. This represents 1.2% of total beef consumption (8 million tons per year, according to the European Commission).

Macro farms and the ‘uberization’ of the countryside

In any case, the meeting with Garzón has not avoided the controversy surrounding the macro-farms or large farms. Padilla explained that the minister considers that his words have not been well interpreted. For the top leader of COAG, the accent must be placed on «how meat is produced» before charging against an entire model referring to intensive farming. In this line, he recalled that the majority of the farms whose activity that have this model are medium and small farms. It has also claimed the role of this type of farm in the fight against exploitation. This controversy makes no sense. I have concluded.

Anyway, from COAG, they have warned against ‘the process of uberization of the countryside’, to which they also associate the landing of investment funds. A model that the general secretary of this agrarian organization has branded as “unsustainable” and gives as an example the project of 23,000 dairy cows that is to be installed in Noviercas (Soria). “The estimated annual production would come to replace 432 family farms, destroy 726 jobs in rural areas and generate twice as much organic waste as the entire population of Castilla y León,” denounced the head of COAG.

Differentiated labeling

Padilla has also supported all the initiatives in favor of a label that differentiates the origin of the products and report all its traceability. On the above, the general secretary of COAG has recalled that it has been one of the “historic claims” of this agrarian organization.

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