The Canarian administrations, the State and the EC are looking for a legal formula to maintain the Posei aid
THE PLAINS OF ARIDANE (LA PALMA), 13 Jan. (EUROPA PRESS) –
The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Janusz Wojciechowski, said this Thursday that the situation of the primary sector in La Palma is “dramatic” as a result of the volcanic eruption of Cumbre Vieja and therefore has promised to support with economic funds the reconstruction of the island.
In an appearance before the media together with the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas and the President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, he has urged the local and regional authorities to define a plan with all the needs for the central government to present it in Brussels.
The objective, he pointed out, is to achieve “synergy” between all public administrations and “ensure” that aid to farmers “is presented in a constructive and efficient way” to save the sector, of which he especially highlighted “unique products” such as banana and avocado.
Wojciechowski has insisted that “it is very important to ensure that there is effective support for all farmers” and along these lines he has not ignored that the Posei is a “very important instrument”, opening the door to seek legal formulas, together with the central government, to maintain aid even if 70% of production is not marketed in the coming years.
“We are going to do everything in our power to put in place legal instruments to support reconstruction,” he indicated, underlining that he had contemplated “the magnitude of the catastrophe and the damage in agriculture” but at the same time “the desire” that those affected have to “get down to work” and recover their lives and activity.
Apart from Posei, he commented that there are also funds available through the Rural Development Programs (PDR) and insisted that all “necessary means” will be put in place to support the primary sector “in catastrophic situations.”
Planas has commented that after a first phase of “struggle, suffering and resistance” linked to the eruption, a “moment of hope” is now being faced for recovery and reconstruction, which will come hand in hand with the “European perspective” with the rescheduling of rural development funds for infrastructure and purchase of livestock and Posei, once the cause of force majeure for 2021 productions has been achieved.
Now, he commented, it is about looking for the “legal formula” so that the aid is enjoyed in the coming years while production recovers.
The minister stressed that the Government “is with La Palma” and will do “everything that is necessary” to ensure that normality “returns soon and the activity can be resumed.”
In this context, he recalled the “powerful package” of aid deployed by the Executive to “resist and maintain” the activity of the primary sector during the eruption and which amounted to 18.8 million, specific aid for the Tazacorte fishermen’s brotherhood and another 10 million complementary that will help to cover losses of facilities or unsold productions due to ash effects.
ADVANCE 30 MILLION FOR HIGHWAYS AND SCHOOLS
Torres has pointed out that “it was essential” for the commissioner to see the effects of the volcano first-hand at a time when the central government is processing the request for solidarity funds – with losses close to 1,000 million – to achieve a first advance of 30 million that will be used to rebuild roads and schools, mainly.
In addition, he has said that “it is essential” that the Posei “adapt” to the needs of La Palma because “it is impossible to meet” 70% of the commercialized production and that there be additional funds for the reconstruction, because only in banana, more than 100 million euros are required.
Hernández Zapata has commented that the primary sector “is key” in the island’s economy “and is one of the main affected”, with more than 370 hectares damaged by the eruption, more than half of which are banana plantations.
However, and in collaboration with CSIC studies, he has indicated that the quality of the island’s agricultural products has been certified despite the effects of the eruption, which is why he has insisted that the administrations are going to be together with those affected to restart economic activity.