“Contrary to popular belief, farm subsides do not protect small American farmers. They do drive down the profit on crops. In the US, 10 percent of farms receive 75 percent of subsidies, and all these farms are run by agribusiness giants like Monsanto. Exporting GM crops is hampered by the fact that many countries refuse to buy genetically modified crops, including Australia, the EU (except Spain), and Japan. Product recalls, involving the use of GM crops in food products sold to countries where GM food is forbidden, is not only costly but represents an ongoing bone of contention on the world market which hampers international trade relations.” Source
While there is an abundance of olive oil on the market, Spanish olive farmers are going bust and small farmers are being squeezed (or pushed or shoved) out of business.
Is this what we get to look forward to as more and more global giants take over & strangle our food supply? Monsanto (and their ilk) are allowed to rake in profits by way of EU farm subsidies while smaller, legitimate farmers go broke…makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
This story focuses on the farmers in Spain but please realize how very similar this is to what is going on in America…and around the world right now as we battle for the right to keep growing and buying locally grown foods.
62 percent of farmers in United States did not collect subsidy payments – according to USDA.
Ten percent collected 74 percent of all subsidies.
Amounting to $165.9 billion over 16 years.
Top 10%: $30,751 average per year between 1995 and 2010.
Bottom 80%: $587 average per year between 1995 and 2010.
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Excerpts from The Independent:
“Benalua de las Villas, Spain – Already faced with a glut of olives equivalent to 95 million litres of olive oil, this exceptionally dry winter means the industry is braced for its second bumper crop in a row, which could see a further 285 million litres flood an already saturated market.
Factor in a 70 per cent increase in production costs, the stagnation of prices paid to olive oil farmers in the past 15 years, (olive oil retails at over 10 times as much in supermarkets) and a Spanish economy on the rocks, and the result is clear: after years of overproduction, large sectors of the olive oil industry are going to the wall…
…The olive oil sector is already shrinking fast. In the Andalucian province of Seville alone, where it is reported that 83 of its 105 villages are dependent on it, 6,500 farmers have abandoned the business in the past decade. In Granada, with the country’s third highest olive oil output, trade unions estimated last week that since 2000, 75 per cent of the province’s farms have drained their savings accounts to zero. “That money they had was the only guarantee that they could go the bank, ask for a loan and be able to continue,” according to an official, Nicolas Chica. Without the EU grants, soon to be reviewed, he claims over 70 per cent of Granada’s farmers now face ruin…
…Salvation may be at hand, but it will be extremely painful. Mr Ortega believes that although the olive oil industry is on the point of losing its traditional smallholding sector, mass production could save its future…”
I’m sure that whatever may have caused so many small farms to fail, it couldn’t possibly be related to Spain’s agriculture being under the control of EU’s Common Agricultural Policy which is one of the most complex farm policies ever written? Nah, of course not!
Reuters – While biotech crops remain highly controversial in Europe, six European Union countries — Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Romania — planted 114,490 hectares of biotech corn in 2011, up from 23,297 hectares in 2010.