Spain Announces Steps to Aid Farmers After Protests

(Bloomberg) --

Spain responded to weeks of protests by farmers by announcing steps to support prices for their goods.

The government will prohibit sales of agricultural products below cost price by decree, Agriculture Minister Luis Planas said Tuesday. The government will also make it easier for olive growers to access subsidies, after they were battered by drought and an increase in U.S. import tariffs. Planas didn’t say how much the aid would be worth.

Demonstrations by tens of thousands of farmers across Spain in recent weeks bear witness to a growing list of grievances, including dwindling prices and the impact of Brexit. The protests have left Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez scrambling to come up with answers as his fledgling government faces its first major bout of unrest.

“This decree is a response to the demands made by farmers,” Planas said in a press conference in Madrid.

Spain is the largest producer of fruit and fresh vegetables in the European Union, accounting for around one-quarter of production by value, according to the bloc’s statistics agency.

Farmers in Spain and the rest of the EU are worried that the U.K.’s departure could mean less financial support because it was a net contributor to the bloc’s budget. For Spanish growers, subsidies from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy on average represent around one-third of their income.

Another concern is the decision by President Donald Trump to slap tariffs on one kind of Sapnish olive in 2018 and then impose additional duties on olive oil as part of a wider trade spat that targeted a range of European consumer goods.

To contact the reporters on this story: Charles Penty in Madrid at;Charlie Devereux in Madrid at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at, Ben Sills

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