Why does Mercadona sell krill from Israel?

Why does Mercadona sell krill from Israel?

It's news from 2020, but the situation hasn't changed anything. A farmer in Miliana kindly donated 8,000 kilos of krillTo the municipal social services and the Red Cross before the crop is lost or sell it at the price set by large supermarkets, at half the cost price.

Today, with farmers ready to demand fair prices, social media is filled with complaints about supermarkets selling imported products while local production finds no buyers. One of the most frequently repeated cases is that of Mercadona Crossroads, mostly from Israel, the point at which farmers' protests coincided with the growing movement to boycott Israeli products in protest of the genocide in Gaza.

Specifically, the Valencian region is an important producer of querilla, although in recent years this production has been decreasing, precisely because fields have been abandoned or crops have been changed due to the difficulty of selling them at a price that covers the costs. According to Ministry of Agriculture figures, in 2019, 75,359 tonnes were scheduled to be planted on 2,211 tonnes. Currently, the yearbook published by Cajamar indicates that 1,800 hectares are under cultivation, which will produce about 40,000 tons. On the other hand, krill are imported from Israel at a value of 11 million euros each, according to the ministry’s own data.

But if Mercadona – and other distribution chains – prefer to buy Israeli cruella rather than Valencia, it is primarily due to prices. But why is the Israeli crossover cheaper if you consider that you also have to add transportation costs?

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Military agriculture

Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the government has taken the issue of the population's food sovereignty seriously, which is why policies to promote agriculture have been enormous. It's a big challenge, if you consider that much of the area is dry. Since then, Israeli agricultural techniques have become famous around the world, with innovations common today such as drip irrigation. In fact, agricultural innovation is one of the prides of the State of Israel and one of its most important advertising points. They often point to Ben-Gurion's famous quote “making the desert flourish” as a major national achievement.

Behind this propaganda – and without undermining these innovations – there are also many other stories that could explain Israel's horticultural export capacity. The first and most obvious is getting to the ground. Cooperative farms such as kibbutzim are often cited as examples of productivity and resource efficiency, but omitted to explain that these farms were built on land stolen—often illegally, and almost always violently—from their original Palestinian owners. According to Amnesty International, in 1948, only 6.5% of fertile land was owned by Jewish individuals or entities, while 90% was owned by Palestinians. Today, the numbers have reversed after decades of forced confiscation and expropriation. Obviously, if you can get land almost for free, the costs of production go down dramatically.

High-tech greenhouse in Israel

Another search, This time from GRAIN, details the close relationship between the technological development of Israeli agriculture and the country's military. “Agriculture in this country is the product of decades of violent military occupation of Palestinian lands and military oppression of the Palestinian people. Israeli agribusiness companies were formed in this context and continue to benefit from it.” Agriculture will have not only strategic and economic value, but also diplomatic value. The same article details Israeli support for Azerbaijan to promote agriculture in the recently occupied territories – after the violent ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population – in Nagorno-Karabakh, in exchange for grains and fodder that their country does not produce.

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Military support – whether for free land or to develop new technologies – is not isolated. For decades, food security has been one of the country's cornerstones, and policies to support farmers – from heavy protectionism to generous subsidies – have been central to this development. Low costs are achieved, in addition, through the exploitation of labor Conditions that are often considered quasi-slavery. Both the indigenous Palestinian population and immigrants from other countries such as Thailand or, And most recently MalawiThey were recruited to work on Israeli farms with very low wages and harsh conditions.

Since 2020, Israel began the opening process to facilitate the import of agricultural products. The reforms were not without protests from local farmers and were met with an increase in direct subsidies and export facilities, especially to the European Union, thanks to the cooperation agreement between Israel and the European Union that provides for the gradual establishment of a free trade space between the two countries. both regions, As detailed by food sovereignty researcher Gustavo Deutsch. The import facilities that the highly subsidized Israel Junction will provide will be key to being able to offer a cheaper product than that of local production.

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