Tens of thousands of people from across Spain took to the capital’s streets Sunday demanding measures to protect rural economies which have been battered by soaring energy prices forcing sellers to retail below production costs, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.
More than 100,000 people gathered to demand aid for the farming sector and to safeguard “the future for the countryside”.
On Sunday, over 1,500 buses arrived in Madrid crammed with protesters who marched with tractors, dogs and horses to the sound of trumpets and cowbells.
The main agricultural and livestock organisations in Spain called the protest, and hunting and bullfighting advocates were also in attendance.
The objective, according to organisers, was to “claim the future for villages”.
They demand an action plan to deal with the soaring costs rural sectors face – including the agri-food industry which is one of Spain’s key economic sectors – and the low-profit margins which have been aggravated by the war in Ukraine, rocketing fuel prices and a shortage of grains used to feed livestock.
Protesters are also demanding Spain’s new food supply chain law be rolled out to allow producers to sell at fair prices and not below production costs.
The parliamentarian for Teruel Existe, Tomás Guitarte, the only lawmaker currently representing rural areas affected by depopulation in Spain, said that “agriculture and the rural world could collapse” if the current situation remains unchanged.
The Government “must act quickly to solve immediate problems such as the rise in prices of fertilisers and diesel,” Guitarte added.
The demonstration came after an open-ended strike by truckers which started Monday and is disrupting supply chains, causing road closures and paralysing key sectors, including the agri-food industry.
The strike has forced some sectors to stop production and supermarket shelves are already short of dairy products.