The crisis caused by the covid-19 has come to put more sticks on the wheel to a sector that, like sheep or goats, has its most important demand at certain times of the year. But if the mismanagement of those who have to coordinate and govern for all is added to the crisis due to low lamb prices, the feeling of uncertainty multiplies. This is what has happened this past week in the Basque Country.
In a press release issued by the public institution, a “collaboration” with the livestock sector was appealed to guarantee “the profitability of the farms”.
But what exactly was called “collaboration”?
For a layman on the subject, and reading diagonally, it could be deduced that this “collaboration” was good news. Why?
- First, because the Basque Government signs an agreement with Harakai Coop., Which guarantees both the acquisition of the animals and the maintenance of prices: € 6 / kg for the Basque lamb. In total, the collection of 27,000 lambs was planned.
- Second, because EROSKI would commercialize the lambs transferring the final product to the consumer.
- Third, ranchers are assured of sale and collection.
In this way, the Basque Government, protected by the legislative modifications that the European Commission allows in the face of the Covid-19 crisis, seemed to offer a coordinated and centralized action responding to the need to guarantee the profitability and continuity of these farms, seriously affected by the economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 crisis, which has led to a drastic drop in consumption in the HORECA channel (hospitality, catering, catering), its main client.
Issue resolved, it seemed … But no.
According to the sector of private agents:
1.-This collaboration proposed to leave aside the trading companies that collect the lambs and pay the ranchers. Therefore, rather than leaving it aside, it would be to liquidate the sector and for the ranchers to work exclusively for Harakai Coop.
2.-And if we continue to remove the press release sent to the media on Wednesday, April 1, the sector observes that, in addition, the prices they pay to farmers do not guarantee the profitability of farms as they say in the headline.
But it is that the rest of the agents have not been given an option from the Basque Government to be able to sign any type of agreement or convention. They did not contact them. Therefore this ‘collaboration’ was done “behind the back of the sector”.
3-.The ‘collaboration’ agreement with Harakai Coop. establishes a pricing policy * in which it will always be settled based on Kg / channel and channel classification.
* VAT will be added to prices and 5% will be deducted for marketing. Likewise, a cost of € 0.24 / Kg channel would be applied in case of requesting transport by Harakai Coop.
Settlements would be made to ranchers at the end of the month. From the marketers, it is clear: “Who guarantees that, once the lamb in the slaughterhouse, they really pay the price of Euskolabel or that of first class, or who knows if with the drop in sales the classifications will be made with commercial interests?” .
What is clear is that the rest of the commercial agents make these classifications on the livestock farms themselves, that is, at the time of loading and in the presence of the farmer. With full transparency.
4.- For this, commercial agents have moved. And they have transferred to the Basque Government their discomfort for not taking them into account when looking for solutions among all parts of the chain.
And it seems that there are movements in this regard.
From Anafric we want to highlight the commendable work of commercial agents who, we all have to put ourselves in their place, have also been caught by the crisis, affecting them with the harshest of realities. Anafric supports and supports professionals in the sheep sector.
With your collaboration and effort, we hope that the damage to the livestock sector is as little as possible.