The Junta de Andalucía has decided to promote the Almeria Water Board, with the incorporation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development and Environment and Spatial Planning. This has been reported by the new Agriculture Minister, Rodrigo Sánchez Haro, in his recent visit to the province to meet with representatives of the horticultural sector. An opportunity that has taken advantage of to advance the commissioning of said Bureau, in the second half of next July. In this way, and as highlighted by Sánchez Haro, the Andalusian Government reinforces its commitment to direct dialogue with the agricultural sector in Almeria, in order to address the challenges posed by a policy for the use of water resources in its production area.
As he stressed during his visit to the councilor, water is a matter of utmost importance for the agricultural model that develops in this territory and, therefore, “politics around it must be vital.” This is the reason why it was decided to relaunch the Water Table constituted in this day in this province by irrigators and farmers and where, to date, the Junta de Andalucía was not represented.
The primary objective of the Bureau will be to address “the legal or technical problems that exist and to establish the roadmap and concrete objectives” of the sector in this area
The head of Agriculture commented that the intention of the regional government is to “set up a permanent forum for dialogue” involving these two ministries and all actors in the sector, including those who currently make up the Almeria Water Board. This will create a working space conducive to “highlighting water problems and finding solutions”, said Rodrigo Sánchez, who has insisted on the importance of “continuing to make progress in maximizing water”. It is a natural resource of great importance both for the development of agricultural activity and for the conservation of the environment.
Sánchez Haro said that his Ministry will also work on promoting state regulation of desalinated water that includes fiscal measures, structural drought bonuses, protection of aquifers and environmental measures
During his first meeting with the representatives of the horticultural sector of Almeria, Sánchez Haro asked for “unity of action” to face the challenges that must be faced. The representative of the Andalusian government has assured that, in turn, he will work to “have a government allied strategically with agriculture”.
Among the challenges of the fruit and vegetable sector, the minister also referred to the need to expand markets and better promote products “to remain leaders.” To this end, it is committed to taking advantage of “the qualities demanded by new consumers”, such as the healthy qualities of food or the sustainability of production systems.
At the meeting, Rodrigo Sánchez called for “all possible support to remain competitive”, among which he stressed the need for investment incentives, desalinated water price subsidies and more efficient transport infrastructure.
Exceptional measures against the Russian veto
From the constant support that the Andalusian Government is providing to a sector as strategic as the fruit and vegetable sector, the council has highlighted as more recent action the efforts that are being carried out to avoid excluding vegetables from the exceptional measures to mitigate the veto Russian. Rodrigo Sánchez has detailed to the representatives of the Almería sector that from the Andalusian Government a report has been sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment to justify this request and to ask the Minister Isabel García Tejerina to transfer to the Council of Ministers of Agriculture of the European Union this demand of Andalusia. A letter has also been sent informing this request to the Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Clara Aguilera.
“We are looking forward to the decisions taken in the European Commission regarding the inclusion of vegetables in the new Delegate Regulation by the Russian veto that will come into effect on July 1″, said the Andalusian adviser, since “the Vegetables suffer the same rigidity and tension in markets as permanent crops “and from Brussels it has been recognized that horticultural products remain vulnerable to this ban.
The quota of vegetables allocated to Spain in the previous regulation of measures to compensate the consequences of the Russian veto amounted to 6,900 tons, which were exhausted last January. Andalusia, with more than 3,700 tons, has withdrawn more than 55% of the total. For this reason, in March the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development requested an expansion of the quota of vegetables “warning the Ministry of increasing use that the Andalusian OPFH were making the withdrawal mechanism by financing it through the operational funds” , Sánchez Haro commented to those attending the meeting. This shows the more than 3,500 tonnes of vegetables withdrawn only between January and May 2017.