17 April 2020 News

Facing Covid-19: the measures taken by Euskadi

This article is part of a series dedicated to share the measure taken by AREPO member Regions to face the negative effects of covid-19 on agri-food sector. In this difficult and unprecedented moments, AREPO wants to support its members facilitating exchanges and cooperation. If you want to share the good practices of your Region, please write an email to info@arepoquality.eu

Confronted with the COVID-19 emergency, the Basque Government is taking action to ensure the proper functioning of the food production and supply chain, protecting the health of all those involved.

Special economic aid for the Basque food value chain

Within the framework of temporary aid to the agricultural, food and fisheries sectors, following the crisis caused by the Coronavirus, € 2 million was made available to support Basque associations and enterprises for the purchase of surplus production of perishable goods (fisheries, agro-zootechnics and perishable products in warehouses and intended for distribution in the HORECA sector). These actions, aimed at maintaining food production and alleviating the emergency situation that companies in the food value chain are experiencing following the shutdown of the HORECA channel, could be associated with the withdrawal and management of stocks and the application of exceptional freezing or other measures to regulate their future disposal on the market.

The extraordinary aid adopted also includes the deferment of the payment of loans and rents, relating to the Sendotu and Ikerketa aid programme, by SMEs to the administration.  The Basque Finance Institute and the cooperating financial institutions will provide loan guarantees and subsidise interest rates to reduce the financial cost of these loans. The amount of the deferral of repayments under both programmes amounts to EUR 400 000.

In addition, a programme has been set up to speed up the mechanisms for certification and payment of investment aid to operators in the food, forestry and private activities in rural areas. Subject to justification, payments to beneficiaries of aid for investments in the processing and marketing of agricultural, forestry, food, fisheries and aquaculture products, as well as for setting up private economic activities in rural areas in the Basque Country, will be made more quickly.

Finally, the Region intends to carry out continuous monitoring of market prices and their evolution in the food value chain in the face of fluctuations due to the coronavirus crisis.

For more informationActuaciones frente al COVID-19 en el marco de la Cadena de Valor de la Alimentación(14 april 2020) (ES)

Coronavirus intervention protocol for fishing vessels, farms and the food industry

In order to enable the functioning and operation of the food production and supply chain, it is essential to ensure the health of the people involved so that they can continue to carry out their activities in complete safety. This protocol calls for the responsibility of individuals and companies in the food value chain (ships, farms, food industries, food transport, logistics and transport and food marketing establishments) to minimise risks and prevent contagion.

Alternatives for the sale of food

In order to alleviate the impact that the Covid-19 virus is having on direct sales in the primary sector, the Basque Government and the three Euskadi Provincial Councils together with the HAZI Foundation, which depends on the Department of Economic Development and Infrastructure of the Basque Government, have thought of a commercial alternative for all those products normally destined for local fairs and markets and the HORECA channel. In particular, a collection and marketing service has been set up to guarantee the health of producers as well as consumers of local and seasonal products.  The companies that will take care of the purchase and marketing of the products, once collected, will deliver them to the operators of the retailing sector Eroski S.Coop. (Eroski) and Uvesco S.L. (BM).

More information:

El Gobierno Vasco, las Diputación Forales y HAZI crearán un servicio de recogida y comercialización de productos de los y las baserritarras (26 march 2020) (ES)

Euskadi ofrece al sector primario una alternativa de comercialización ante la crisis del COVID 19 (1 april 2020) (ES)

Medidas alternativas para la venta de productos de la Cadena de Valor de la alimentación durante el Estado de Alarma (ES)

Cómo acceder a los alimentos locales desde casa (ES)

Recogida y comercialización de excedentes (ES)

Ensuring the profitability of farms

The closure of the HORECA sector has also had a negative impact on the livestock sector. In order to ensure the viability and continuity of these farms, the public body Fundación HAZI has reached an agreement with the Harakai cooperative, whereby the latter undertakes to purchase the lambs produced by Basque shepherds during the current season, maintaining a fixed purchase price of around 6 euros per kilo for those covered by the regional brand Eusko label. With this new agreement, the cooperative, which brings together around 620 producers of sheep, cattle and pigs from the three historic Basque territories, will take on around 15,000 more animals, providing an outlet for production even for non-member shepherds. The retailing sector will collaborate in this initiative, dealing with the marketing of the product. 

More information: El Gobierno Vasco colabora con el sector ganadero para garantizar la rentabilidad de las explotaciones (1 april 2020) (ES)