Spain Spanish grapes

Fepex is calling for a cut in the price of diesel, fertiliser and plastics as Spain’s fruit and vegetable producers face unprecedented pressure from rising input costs and the fallout from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

With energy prices rising by 134 per cent since last year and the cost of fertiliser and plastics up 48 per cent and 30 per cent respectively, Fepex warned that the viability of the sector will be at stake unless urgent action is taken.

“We are proposing a set of measures that will directly affect the reduction of production costs, some of which have already been suggested but are pending implementation, such as a discount on diesel, as well as a 15 per cent discount on plastics and fertilisers,” Fepex said.

Regarding energy, Fepex has called for the implementation of a dual pricing model adapted to the needs of the horticultural sector, which would see different prices charged during production and non-production periods when the requirements for irrigation and packing differ.

It is also proposing an energy subsidy for the running of desalination plants that would put them on the same rate as state-owned facilities.

Fepex has also called for the easing of restrictions on phytosanitary treatments set out under the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy.

“We are proposing an immediate authorisation policy for exceptional uses that prioritises the economic and social sustainability of fruit and vegetable farms,” Fepex said.

With regard to fruit and vegetable producer organisations, Fepex said there was an urgent need for better crisis management measures, in particular the withdrawal of product for free distribution and animal feed.