The worrying situation of Doñana, whose aquifers are seriously overexploited, and the plan of PP and Vox to legalize irrigation in the surroundings of the National Park have generated a campaign to boycott Huelva strawberries in Germany – the first European consumer of these red fruits – which they call "the strawberries of drought". This situation is damaging the reputational image of the sector. In this context, the president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juan Manuel Moreno, has sent a letter to the one of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, in which he describes "his position" on the boycott and that of the Third Vice President, Teresa Ribera, of "openly accomplice".
"No political objective, no electoral campaign can justify that the Government of Spain in the mouth of its president and its minister of Ecological Transition, give shelter and even dissemination to a succession of falsehoods that endanger the profitability and continuity of such a transcendent sector in the Andalusian economy," continues the letter, in which Moreno is postulated to "open a process of collaboration between both administrations", after asking him, yes, that both he and the rest of the members of his Government "cease in this campaign of harassment". The letter does not refer to the rule of regularizing irrigation promoted by the Andalusian right and protected by the Junta de Andalucía, which has been the trigger for the campaign of German consumers, nor that this plan is opposed by numerous scientists and experts.
A week ago, after publishing the campaign in networks, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the third vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, questioned in tweets how Moreno's impulse of the law to regularize illegal irrigators "ruined the environment" and "rural economies". Ribera also asked the president of the Board to withdraw the rule.
Alert among German consumers who threaten a boycott of Spanish strawberries.
It is essential to clear up any doubts NOW: @JuanMa_Moreno must immediately withdraw the irrigation law that threatens #Doñana.https://t.co/ggfrBtp53G
— Teresa Ribera 🌹 (@Teresaribera) May 30, 2023
After knowing the campaign of Campact, Manuel Delgado Domínguez, spokesman for the association of Farmers Puerta de Doñana, contrary to the proposal to regularize illegal irrigation of the PP and Vox, which is now processed in the Andalusian Parliament, said: "All our omens are being fulfilled, we knew that the law of expansion of irrigation in Doñana promoted by the Andalusian Government could cause this. "
The controversy over the German boycott campaign was stoked over the weekend with the announcement of the visit of a committee of deputies of the German Parliament to learn about the situation of climate change and the fight against drought in Spain and that included a visit to the Doñana National Park that, Finally, it was suspended by the delegation itself, due to the political uproar in the middle of the electoral campaign.
The real impact of the campaign calling for the boycott has been very limited in Germany, where it has also coincided with the end of the Spanish strawberry season, reports Elena Sevillano from Berlin. German supermarkets now sell mainly indigenous strawberries, which ripen later. On the shelves you can see other Spanish fruits, such as blueberries, also produced in Huelva. Knowledge about the place of origin of strawberries, the third most consumed fruit, after apples and bananas, is growing little by little among German consumers, in general very aware of sustainability. The Spanish strawberry is sold, on average, at half the price of the German one.
The Andalusian Government approved on Tuesday an institutional declaration in favor of the strawberry sector, whose economic importance Moreno also recalls in his letter to Sánchez, citing exports for 1,392 euros, the generation of 160,000 jobs and representing 11.35% of GDP. "You will understand, with these data ahead, the enormous concern that, in Huelva, throughout Andalusia and, of course, in the Government that I preside, generates any campaign that calls into question the quality and sustainability of our agricultural production, especially when these occur without any argument basis and with the sole intention of generating damages of difficult repair to an economic activity on which thousands of families depend ", The Andalusian popular leader points out in this regard in his letter.
Interfresa, the employer of red fruits, has also seconded that statement, although there are farmers in the municipality of Almonte who do point to the legislative initiative of the Andalusian right, protected by the Board, as the main responsible for the reputational discredit of its sector.
With the campaign about to end, the consequences in terms of future contracts with intermediaries will not be seen, if any, until next season. Chains such as Lidl and ALDI have already advanced that they will continue to buy these red fruits from Huelva producers. The Andalusian Minister of Agriculture, Carmen Crespo, for her part, has begun this week a series of meetings with these chains of intermediaries, the same ones that a year ago transferred their concern to the Government of Moreno for the consequences of the first attempt to regularize irrigation that declined with the electoral advance in Andalusia.
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