Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Weather, relocations and vacation leave in February are shaking up the regional landscape

What is going on in the field? The increase in registered unemployment in agriculture in February, which is unusual in the month of February, has put new alarms in the region, which has established a series of adverse meteorological events, with the effects of markets, exports, prices and even employment. Added to this are other factors that are confounding the seams of the sector in the continuous renewal: to the already known impact of production costs and energy, there is added the increasing relocation or ‘vulture’ of productions that seek water places with greater caution; and also the improvement of labor which distorts the figures and the labor market of permanent workers is discontinued. It is true that labor activity in February fell on agricultural labor due to the postponement of the harvest.

The farmer is experiencing a “rare” campaign, agricultural traders comment. In particular, the work slowed down by 30% in the fruit trees, while the lemon harvest fell by 20%. This resulted in the loss of employment in the fields and in the citrus warehouses of some people from October to February, 1,300. In both cases, the Apoexpa and Ailimpo associations believe that activity can recover to normal levels in the coming months.

Numbers

  • The regional campus had 152 fewer jobs in February than in January

  • 5,688 vacancies were registered in February (including fishing), 1,300 less than a year ago

  • 30% of employment in the fruit sector will be slowed down; and in lemon 20% less collected

  • Parallel to this situation in the country, official statistics show that unemployment was reported by 152 people compared to February from January, according to statistics from the Ministry of Labor and the Department of Agriculture. On the contrary, Coag shows that the number of workers in the special agricultural regime increased in the fourth quarter of last year, up to 78,486, with significant increases from 2017, when 72,995 were registered. Coupled with this, there was less unemployment in February of last year than in the same months of February four years earlier.

    The sector went through a “rare and atypical” February for multiple reasons and hopes to recover the momentum in the next campaign.

    According to these conflicting figures, José Miguel Marín, regional president of Coag, believes that there is a “distortion” to which the new situation of fixed lines with discontinuities also contributes, since it is not known which statistics they really fit. when these workers have no action.

    to clarify the matter

    Leader Coag is confident that “things will be clarified”. He alludes to another element that is changing agricultural trade, such as the relocation of production and therefore employment and wages. “We have the main particularity of dynamic agricultural companies that transfer part of their production to other areas that provide more water guarantees, which make the type of work more difficult. There are powerful companies that serve as a guarantee in the Region even though they are abroad. And at the same time, they make the production here and make the package, says Jose Miguel Marín. He considers that the use of temporary institutions (ETT) “has entered a new system; They will have to refresh themselves.”

    Let them see

  • J. Miguel Marin. President Coag “are the biggest companies that outsource and hire”

  • Joseph A. Garcia. DG Ailimpo “In fields and warehouses there are 1, 200 fewer contracts since October”.

  • Joaquin Gomez. Pte Apoexpa “Labor slowed by 30% in February”

  • John Marin Pte CR Lorca “In the last campaign fewer hectares were planted”.

  • The president of the Irrigation Community of Lorca and the director of Croem, Juan Marín, warns that the sitting temperatures, which were high at the top of the year and which subsequently fell in a large part of the continent, have taken a toll on horticultural crops. and the scarcity caused problems in Britain, so as to render the merchandise dearer than the basket. “Land, water and inputs are becoming more expensive,” he emphasizes, pointing out that the obstacle course that the sector usually faces are challenges and setbacks.

    He also thinks that the profile of permanent discontinuous workers – which the central government considers not unemployed when they are not active – makes it difficult for them to understand the real situation of the sector. But Marín indicates that contraction has been affected in recent months and that fewer hectares have been planted.

    Inspection, very active

    The president of the Association of Fruit and Table Grape Producers-Exporters (Apoexpa), Joaquín Gómez, indicates that fewer workers have been hired since the end of January. “The month of February was quite cold and the fruits are thinning at a medium speed. But this work is aimed at what used to be done in one month in two. The harvest is also slower and fewer workers are employed than in normal years. It is likely to return to previous levels.” He pointed out that work had slowed by 30%, which made February atypical. Fruit producers use little agency at the time, explains Gómez. “The workers, who were previously in the hands of the ETT, are now on permanent suspension. When there is no action, they do not accuse, but they lack the technical aspect”, he points out, while showing that the labor inspector is very active in this regard.

    The director general interprofessional del Limón y Grapefruit (Ailimpo), José Antonio García, indicates between October and February the next loss of 700 pounds in the field and 500 in the warehouse, due to the postponement of the harvest in 20%, and also to the lower harvest that impacted the work. The problem returns again when the transition from flower to fruit set is changed in May, with repercussions on the harvest.

    Lemon gives work to some 20,000 people in the Region, and García indicates that the jobs lost in recent months, continuing to be discontinued, may not appear in the statistics because the contracts are not terminated.

    Nation World News Desk
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