Valencia will soon have four new agricultural markets where farmers will sell their products to the public directly…
The locations and number of stalls have been approved by the Valencian government. The largest market, with 20 stalls, will be located on Calle de Martínez, next to the Consum opposite the Mercado Colon, and the other three markets, with 15 stalls each, will be located in Plaza de la Figuereta de Castellar, on Benimaclet square, and finally in Malilla, on Calle Ingeniero Joaquin Benlloch.
Farmers will bring their products directly from their farms to the markets, which will be held once a week, with no middlemen involved. The selection process for market position will be very complicated; farmers will be given an advantage based on the proximity of their farms (to cut food kilometres), the quality of their product, as well as various social factors. And 10% of the space will be set aside for disadvantaged producers.
It is highly unlikely that these markets will have an impact on product prices, despite the fact that they are coming directly from the Huerta. Two existing markets, one in Cabanyal and one in El Carmen, show that the products on sale are, if anything, more expensive than at the regular market. But at the very least, you can be certain of their origin, and the quality is much higher.
Of course, as with anything in Valencia, this decision sparked a heated debate in the legislature. The opposition argued that the proposal would disrupt the supply chain and further impoverish existing businesses. They also stated that putting an agricultural market next to a cultural asset is not appropriate in the case of Mercado Colon. They even went so far as to call the proposal an “ideological intervention”.
However, they were not the only ones who went over the top in their impassioned arguments. The ruling coalition, for its part, went even further, claiming that the opposition is upset that “farmers are empowered”, and that they would rather see a Louis Vuitton shop than a peasant taking control.
Somehow, everybody forgot to mention the real benefit of such a move – branding the Huerta Valenciana as an important and unique agricultural area in Spain, not only among the citizens of the city, but for tourists as well. There are those who claim that branding was never a strong point for many in Valencia.
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