Spain is worried about the German boycott of their strawberries
Conflict over water use in Spain's drought-stricken agricultural sector risks undermining strawberry exports, one of Spain's most recognizable exports to European supermarkets, the Financial Times reports today. Spain's Socialist Environment Minister Teresa Ribera said some farmers face a "real reputational risk", while German activist group Kampact is campaigning for a boycott of "drought strawberries".
The root of the dispute lies in a law proposed by the conservative government of Spain's Andalusia region, which critics say would legalize 1.000 illegal wells used by farmers and could drain one of Europe's most important wetlands, the Doñana.
Water scarcity is an increasingly critical problem for Europe, where temperatures are rising faster than any other continent, as well as tensions between different water users and demands for environmental protection.
The proposal prompted Germany's left-wing group Campact to call on major supermarket chains such as Lidl and Aldi to stop buying produce grown around Doñana, part of Andalusia's berry-producing province of Huelva.
A German group claims Spain is risking disaster to grow cheap strawberries for German consumers, and an online petition it launched has been signed by around 160.000 people. After Germany, which last year imported Spanish strawberries worth 196 million euros, the biggest export markets from that sector are Great Britain, France and Italy.