Spain: thousands of angry farmers march with their tractors in Madrid

Some 500 tractors and nearly 4,000 farmers and breeders demonstrated this Wednesday in Madrid to demand an improvement in their status, three weeks after the start of protests in Spain. Complaints shared by farmers across Europe. 

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Thousands of Spanish farmers converged in front of the Ministry of Agriculture, during a demonstration against the increase in prices and taxes, in Madrid, el February 21, 2024. © JUAN MEDINA / Reuters

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They came from Andalusia, Valencia or Castile and Leon. Some even brought cows. Thousands

of Spanish farmers and breeders

entered Madrid in force this Wednesday to meet in front of the Ministry of Agriculture, in the very center of the capital, near the Atocha station and the Prado Museum. They

demonstrated against the precariousness of the sector 

by brandishing signs “the rural world is dying” or “without the countryside, the city does not eat”. The culmination of a movement of anger that began three weeks ago, in the wake of demonstrations organized in particular

in France, Germany, Poland



, this demonstration

led to numerous traffic jams

, and aroused some tensions with the law enforcement.


I hope our voices will reach Brussels

Arriving with great noise to make their discontent heard, they nevertheless marched to the applause of the urban population, reports our correspondent in Madrid,

Diane Cambon

. For Manuel, a 45-year-old cereal farmer in Castile and Leon, this support comes as a surprise. “

All the way, people applauded us, they encourage us, because we must defend worthy prices

,” he says.

In the procession, the


signs are addressed to the Spanish government but also to Brussels, like the one held by Pedro, originally from the province of Cordoba. “

We can no longer bear all these papers, we can no longer take on the administrative burden, I hope our voices will reach Brussels

,” he confides.

The majority point the finger at

trade agreements

with third countries, and in particular direct competition with Morocco and Latin American countries. The trade agreement with Mercosur, so defended by the Spanish government, leaves


on the peninsula fearing the worst, as Manuel d'Extremadura explains. “ 

We cannot continue to sell at a loss, nor can we continue to allow imports from third countries which produce in conditions which for us are prohibited.


More help to cope with drought

Spanish farmers are also demanding country-specific solutions, such as more aid to deal with the lack of water and the drought which has affected many crops, for example olives. In addition to this Madrid gathering, several other demonstrations took place on Wednesday in Spain, notably in Murcia (southeast), Palencia (north) and Malaga (south). 

In a press release, the Minister of Agriculture Luis Planas assured that he was " 

fully involved

 " in " 

providing answers to the concerns of farmers

 ", recalling that he had unveiled last week a package of support measures for the sector following a meeting with the unions. The minister also once again committed to defending on Monday in Brussels the establishment of “ 

mirror clauses

 ”, a mechanism which requires imported products to respect the same rules as those required of European farmers.

Read alsoEuropean farmers maintain pressure on their governments


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