The ‘tractoradas’ are back as an expression of the fed up Spanish agricultural sector. The last time that, through a great mobilization, the countryside demanded “solutions” to the “exorbitant” rise in production costs was in Madrid on March 20, along with other groups from the rural world. It has been three months of truce waiting for the Government to make a move, but the farmers and ranchers “can’t take it anymore” and this Wednesday they have returned to the streets to gather a large caravan of tractors (750 agricultural vehicles), which has been united more than 10,000 people on foot who managed to collapse the city of Granada to protest the “abusive” prices of fuel and electricity. First thing in the morning, there had already been 8 kilometers of traffic jams at the entrances to the capital of Granada and the Granada Government Subdelegation has counted 747 tractors in the different columns of the march (500 tractors and the arrival of 300 buses were planned full of olive growers and horticulturists).

Under the slogan “The price of diesel, the ruin of the countryside”, the influx has been so massive, exceeding all forecasts, that the Granada police have been forced to change the route in full swing to try to avoid traffic collapses due to the great response received from a field that remains united above ideology and partisan interests: all the agrarian organizations, in unity of action, have organized the march (Asaja, COAG, UPA) together with Agrifood Cooperatives: “The agricultural sector is threatened and many productions are in danger of disappearing”, they have denounced.

The protesters have called for the “exorbitant” rise in agricultural diesel, which breaks records and is currently in this area of ​​Andalusia at an average of 1.63 euros per liter, with “peaks of 1.78 in some pumps”, as well as well as the escalation of the electricity bill, “which has not been contained despite the latest measures adopted by the Government,” they denounce.

As a consequence, they have demanded “truly effective” solutions that allow the agricultural and livestock sector to continue operating, such as the rebate on the diesel bill (plastics and fertilizers) in personal income tax; the application of double electrical power for the irrigators that allows them to save energy during the periods in which they do not irrigate; and the increase in the refund of the Special Tax on Hydrocarbons, currently 0.063 euros/litre, or, where appropriate, the return to subsidized professional diesel.

“This is an unprecedented crisis that makes it unaffordable for agricultural and livestock farms to go out to work daily,” lamented the general secretary of Asaja Granada, Manuel del Pino. “Productions will soon be abandoned, especially in livestock, especially in extensive, as they are not profitable,” said the provincial secretary of COAG Granada Miguel Monferrer, who stressed that “the Government has sufficient means to lower and the price of diesel, and at the same time that the energy companies stop ‘riching themselves’ as they are doing in a huge way and that can be seen in their profit account”.

Compared to June 2021, the price of agricultural diesel in Spain has increased by 120%; electrical energy, 180%; and fodder for cattle feeding 36% for cattle and 49% for pigs. “With these production costs, the future of agricultural holdings is totally unfeasible, especially if we add to this the effects that the drought is having on the sector, with significant production losses (cereals -30%), and the instability and uncertainty caused in the international markets as a result of the invasion of Ukraine”, emphasizes Asaja.

At present, and immersed in the middle of the cereal campaign, farmers see how harvest costs skyrocket. Thus, for example, a combine harvester consumes about 400 liters of diesel per day, that is, 677.2 euros/day, to which must be added the consumption of tractors and trucks that carry out the tasks of transporting the grain for storage. The rest of the sectors do not fare any better either and livestock currently supports “an indiscriminate rise in the price of feed”, as a result of the war in Ukraine, which leads to the slaughter of animals.

According to the data provided by Asaja, when at the end of March the Government approved the bonus of 20 cents on fuel, the price of diesel was 1.3 euros/litre, but as of today the price is already 1 .7 e/l, “an increase close to 30 cents that exceeds the bonus designed to compensate the price”.

In addition to the aforementioned demands, the Spanish countryside asks for “an increase in the deduction of expenses that are difficult to justify for farmers who pay taxes under the direct estimation regime of personal income tax, as well as an increase in compensatory VAT of 10.5% at 12% in livestock to equate it with agriculture in the special VAT agriculture and livestock regime. At the same time, they consider urgent the application of the super-reduced rate of 4% VAT to purchases made by agricultural producers of those means of production necessary for the development of their activity, such as agricultural inputs and raw materials.

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