Last Thursday, representatives of the Canary Regional Government and of the islands' tomato and cucumber growers asked the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture to maintain the aid to agriculture and transport (granted due to the insularity of these areas), given the situation generated by Brexit.
The Deputy Councillor of the Primary Sector of the Canary Government, Abel Morales, met with the Secretary General for Agriculture and Food of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fernando Miranda. After this meeting, Morales explained that 50% of the Canary tomato harvest is currently exported to the UK, and that 6,000 direct and indirect jobs depend on this activity.
The Canary Islands export an average of 37,500 tons of vegetables, fruit, tubers, cut flowers, plants and medicinal herbs and plants to the British market every year.
"Agricultural trade with the UK has been on-going for more than 130 years and we want it to continue." That is why it is necessary for "the aid to transport and to the agricultural sector to be maintained through the POSEI program," said Morales. This support is intended for the marketing of products to EU countries.
María José Rallo del Olmo, Secretary-General for Transport of the Spanish Ministry of Development, was not yet aware of the situation that the Canary tomato sector had been facing because of Brexit, but after meeting with Miranda, they are no longer as concerned.
With regard to Brexit, Morales stated earlier that they "must be prepared for every conceivable situation in order to defend the Canary growers with all our might."
Francisco Echandi, President of the Association of Growers and Shippers of Tenerife (Aceto), acknowledged that there was "concern in the Canary tomato sector because of Brexit."
"Without aid, tomato cultivation would become unprofitable and the activity would therefore be jeopardized," Echandi said.