50,000 farmers march in Madrid

PROTEST: Around 50,000 demonstrators protested outside the Ministry of Agriculture in Madrid.

AROUND 50,000 protestors, including farmers from Almeria, took to the streets outside the Ministry of Agriculture in Spain’s capital to demand improvements to water infrastructure in Spain’s southeast.

Farm workers were joined by representatives from irrigation organisations, agriculture co-operatives and trade union members for the demonstration.

It called on authorities to implement changes to irrigation systems in the Almeria, Murcia and Alicante provinces.

All the provinces rely on water transfers from other regions for crop growth. The Almanzora area of Almeria receives around 78 billion litres less water now as a result of the halting of a transfer from the Negratin reservoir in Granada Province.

Jose Antonio Fernandez, head of the Federation of Irrigators and a spokesperson for Almeria’s Water Board, said the Spanish government must heed the call made by farmers at the demonstration.

“The voice of irrigators has been heard strongly in the streets of Madrid and after this the government must take note. It cannot afford to look away,” he said.

Protestors called on the government to maximise production at water plants and to recycle waste fluid back into agriculture. They also demanded hydraulic works to guarantee water for all.