Dozens of farmers in the cherry sector of northern Cáceres, affected by the rainstorm that has destroyed 80% of the production of this campaign, have spilled 500 kilos of this fruit as a protest measure before the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Junta de Extremadura in Mérida.
Those affected, among whom were some mayors of the affected areas of the Jerte Valley, have thus expressed their discomfort at what they consider "terrible conditions and coverage" of insurance and blame the regional administration for it, considering that it carries out "a policy of submission" to the interests of Agroseguro.
Convened by the agricultural organization La Unión and the Association of Valle del Jerte and Northern Regions, farmers demand direct aid to compensate for the losses, estimated at more than 70 million euros, caused by the heavy rains of recent weeks. Thus, they figure as compensation the amount of 4,000 euros per hectare (most have, on average, two) and not, as approved by the Junta de Extremadura in the last Council of Government in office chaired by Guillermo Fernández Vara, a request to the Central Government of catastrophic zone, "which in the end does not solve anything, as we have seen with the promised aid for the damagesof the storm Efraín, whose affected have not yet seen a euro, "said the secretary general of the Union, Luis Cortés.
This agricultural representative has criticized the lack of direct aid for cherry producers, "despite the fact that other agricultural sectors have received this type of support," he stressed, specifically in direct decrees for drought for livestock or cereals, so he has asked for a similar decree-law to be approved urgently. In this way, he has claimed ten million direct aid for the sector, which lives about 5,000 families in the regions of Valle del Jerte, La Vera, Valle del Ambroz and Las Hurdes, and has criticized that the Government of Extremadura has assured that this crop will join the granting of loans from other sectors: "It's a joke, now it turns out that they are going to give us the loans that the banks do not give us because we are indebted to the top." In this sense, he recalled that the storm has lost 300,000 wages in the Jerte Valley in this cherry harvest campaign.
Cortés has criticized the decrease in the number of cherry insurance policies in the province of Cáceres, passing, he has assured, from about 3,800 a few years ago to less than 120 today, which shows that the policy is not adapted to the cherry sector in this area, so it would have to be modified for the next campaigns. In addition, he has assured that if short-term solutions are not approved they will resort to more drastic measures, such as the road cut in the northern part of the province of Cáceres. "You cannot allow some farmers to be discriminated against and not others," he added.
Cortés has blamed the situation, in addition to the rain, on the Minister of Agriculture, Begoña Bernal, who "approved a cherry insurance that does not cover the risks", so he has criticized the "submission of the Board" to Agroseguro. "Not the PSOE or anyone. It is a shame what is happening in the Jerte Valley. And I only remind you of one thing. A month ago, Decree Law 3/2023 was approved with 32 million euros of aid for drought. Why can't 10 million euros of direct aid be approved for these gentlemen who are suffering much more, much more, than many others?" he asked.
Emilio José Hernández Díaz, president of the Valle del Jerte and Northern Regions Association, has asked the "president or the future president" to explain how the population will be fixed in the rural regions if 70 million euros are lost and help is not provided to their inhabitants. "It's all absolutely razed to the ground. We can not afford the payments and either direct aid is given or really all these people are going to have a very bad time and many people are going to leave the villages, "he said.
For his part, the mayor of the local entity of Azabal, Isidro Alonso, has claimed aid for small farmers who have been left without income after undertaking all expenses and when they were about to harvest their harvest. In parallel, the farmer José Luis Vicente, farmer of La Vera, has said that in this region between 9 and 10 million kilos of cherries are collected annually but "this year we have lost everything", with which all the families they employed "have also been left without work".
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