Constant and well-done work pays off. UPA has succeeded in making one of its historical demands a reality. The public announcement made by the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, at the Olive Tree Fair in Montoro (Córdoba) that the traditional olive grove will have an associated aid is the recognition of the approaches that we have been defending in UPA since 2014 and that, finally, have borne fruit with this inclusion. This is why the head of the Olive and Olive Oil Sector of UPA and secretary general of UPA Andalusia, Cristóbal Cano, welcomes the news “with great satisfaction”.
UPA has always demanded that the different governments include the traditional olive grove in the associated aid, a line of support for vulnerable sectors. When it came to negotiating the CAP, in every period, our organisation has defended the need for this olive grove, which is vulnerable, to receive direct support from the Ministry. Cristóbal Cano recalls this ongoing work: “In 2014 we asked for it to be included. In 2016 we rallied, alone, outside the doors of the Ministry of Agriculture when Brussels opened up the possibility for member states to incorporate new sectors into the associated aid. On neither occasion was there a positive response. And now, in March 2022, when the National Strategic Plan has been drawn up, we presented written allegations to obtain direct aid for the traditional olive grove”, explains the head of the UPA Olive and Olive Oil Sector.
It is true that “we were pleased” that the Strategic Plan included a specific sectoral intervention for the traditional olive grove, but “we were concerned to see how the way in which it was to be applied was going to be very difficult for producer organisations because we understood that the aid was not well channelled because it was not going to directly reach the olive grower on traditional farms, who is precisely the one who has this difficulty and vulnerability. Furthermore, we understood that the bureaucracy and the difficult management could even put the budget at risk. That is why we asked in writing, during the period of allegations, for this sectoral programme to be transformed into associated aid”, Cristóbal Cano explains.
Now that this demand has been met, the work continues. “It is now a reality. Traditional olive growers will see this direct aid as of 1 January 2023. But now we have to ensure that this money reaches the farms that need it, that deserve it, that it is an aid marked by degressivity, a modulated aid, an aid that puts family farms at the centre. Therefore, from 2023 onwards, traditional olive farms that are eligible for this line will be paid for four concepts: basic income aid, redistributive payment, eco-schemes and associated aid. In short, this is good news that fulfils part of our objectives, which are none other than a fairer and more social distribution of the CAP”, Cristóbal Cano concludes.