Unions Agrarias protested in the streets of Santiago de Compostela against the low prices that large distribution chains pay Galician farmers for their products. The union protested by giving away a thousand lettuces to passers-by at the Plaza del Toural, an action with which they also seek to sensitize public opinion.
“I’ll earn almost as much by giving away this lettuce as by selling it to a distribution center. They play with our product to make their own offers because it costs them nothing,” stated Anxo, a producer of vegetables.
The large distribution chains abuse Galician producers. They require the product to arrive in good conditions and are paid a pittance. Meanwhile, foreign producers set their prices, he said.
“Producing lettuce in our country costs around 20 cents per unit. Producers are only being paid 25 cents,” stated Felix Porto, head of sector coordination at Unions Agrarias.
This is mainly due to the abuses of two major distribution chains, Mercadona and Gadis, which are the ones paying such low prices to producers, he added. However, he noted, these chains have started to raise the public sale price of lettuces in Galicia, a first step that Unions Agrarias has valued.
The union also requested the products are labeled to clearly differentiate the product from Galicia from the product imported from Portugal, Belgium, or Morocco.
“It is not normal that the potato from France in a distribution chain currently costs 1.29 euro per kilo and the potato produced in Galicia costs 0.59 euro per kilo. We don’t understand this negative discrimination towards the producers of our country,” Porto added. In addition, he said, producers worked hard during the pandemic to offer a staple product to the population and the distribution sector took advantage of the pandemic to lower prices again.
Union Agrarias also expressed the need for the Xunta de Galicia to update the data and create an observatory to know exactly what the production costs of the different products are so as to comply with the food chain law that states that producers can’t be paid below production costs.