Fourteen measures to counteract the citrus crisis

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has proposed initiatives to address the situation aimed at adjusting supply, improving the structure and promoting the internationalization of the sector to guarantee its future.

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, has offered the collaboration of his Department to work with all the administrations involved and the sector, to maintain the leadership in the production and the citrus market.

Planas that has presided over the National Citrus Table, has reiterated the sensitivity of the Ministry in the face of the difficult situation facing the sector, with a production in this campaign of more than 7 million tons, compared to 6.6 on average during the last five years. He also insisted on the need to carry out, together, a serene and in-depth diagnosis of the causes of the crisis, in order to contribute to improving the situation of the sector in a lasting way.

In order to face the problems of both circumstantial and structural issues, the minister has proposed a battery of 14 measures to promote the organization of the sector, improve knowledge and the planning of supply and demand in international markets.

MEASURES TO ADJUST THE OFFER AND LIQUIDITY

To adjust the offer, Planas has explained the possibility of extending, if market conditions so require, the deadline for the transformation of oranges and small citrus fruits removed from the fresh market until April 30, increasing, if necessary, the quotas.

It has also raised the possibility of enhancing the tools of supply adjustment within the framework of Producer Organizations (POs), favoring, through legislative proposals, measures within operational programs, such as the possibility of reconversion or restrictions on new plantings of certain varieties.

In terms of taxation and to provide liquidity to the sector, Planas has indicated that work is underway to start up a financing line for the costs of the SAECA guarantees that will finance liquidity credits amounting to 40 million euros. In this line the minister explained that a proposal is being prepared for the reduction of the net return index for the fiscal year of 2018.

In order to improve the information and the transparency of the sector and the market, it has exposed the possibility of adopting measures to expand and improve the sectoral information and make it available to the interested parties for the planning of production and marketing.

This initiative should be complemented with the improvement of existing information on the demands of national and international markets.

In order to improve the structure and organization of the sector, the minister highlighted the convenience of favoring the incorporation of producers into the Producer Organizations and the improvement of the dimension and possibilities of action of the same, as well as of the Associations of producer organizations. In this regard Planas has emphasized that only 34% of the sector is grouped in producer organizations, while in other productive areas it reaches 70% or more. To this end, he pointed out that work is being done on the preparation of a global analysis of these organizational structures in order to adopt concrete measures.

We have also highlighted, as a key point, the need for the sector to adopt measures for the constitution and maintenance of strong interprofessional organizations, promoting the structure for decision-making on market planning and planning, the drafting and extension of the approved contracts and The design and execution of promotion programs co-financed by the European Union.

FOREIGN TRADE AND IMPROVEMENT OF MARKETING

In the field of foreign trade, the active demand before the European Union of the application of the principles of reciprocity for trade agreements has been planted.
For this, the Ministry has moved to the European Commission, the need to carry out a specific impact analysis of trade agreements with the EU.

The minister also highlighted the importance of promoting active monitoring of the results of phytosanitary controls at European level within the EU framework. The need to adopt measures to improve communication mechanisms and access to new markets has also been highlighted, through the promotion of lines of collaboration with ICEX; The impulse to the opening of new markets or the improvement of the access conditions and the support to the exporters.

On the other hand, and to improve the commercialization and operation of the value chain, Planea has published several measures such as the establishment of a specific plan for compliance with the Law to improve the food chain.In addition, the surveillance plan, the minister has reported on the constitution of a specific table in the Observatory of the Chain, in order to identify failures or imbalances in the value chain.

Planas has also exposed, as a measure of interest for the future of the sector, the reinforcement of the commercial quality control plans. A factor that must be strengthened to ensure that Spanish citrus fruits that reach the markets have the highest quality.

The application of all these activities will become a next meeting of the National Citizolic Table, convened for the beginning of April.

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