Government of Spain approves pioneering law against food waste

Council of Ministers - 2022.6.7

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Moncloa Palace, Madrid

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

The Council of Ministers has agreed to submit to Parliament the Draft Bill on the Prevention of Food Loss and Waste, the first regulation on this matter to be enacted in Spain, with the aim of preventing the discarding of unconsumed food and encouraging better use made of it.

Also in the area of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Government has approved the draft law setting out the rules for implementing the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In addition, it has established the regulatory bases for exceptional aid of 193 million euros to compensate certain agricultural and livestock production affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Draft Bill on the Prevention of Food Loss and Waste

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, highlighted both the pioneering nature of the future Law on the Prevention of Food Loss and Waste in the EU - only France and Italy have similar regulations - and its timeliness, not only because hunger and malnutrition still exist in the world, but also because "we are currently talking about a potential food crisis and the need for food production in the world".

Food wastage, Planas pointed out, is an inefficiency in the food chain, wherein 20% of food is wasted. To reduce this percentage, it will be mandatory for all elements of the chain, with the exception of shops of less than 1,300 square metres, to have a specific plan. The law also imposes other obligations, such as catering establishments having to make unconsumed food available for customers to take away on request.

Planas stressed that of the 20% of losses along the chain, 40% occur at retail or household level, which is why raising social awareness of the problem is one of the pillars of the new law. During 2020, Spanish households threw away 1.4 billion kilos/litres of food, an average of 31 kilos/litres, amounting to 250 euros per person per year.

The text also regulates donations to food banks, establishing that only food that is within the preferential consumption period, i.e. within the period in which all its characteristics are effectively in force, can be donated.

Draft bill to implement the new CAP

The Draft Bill establishing the Rules for the Implementation in Spain of the New Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) 2023-2027 regulates obligations and objectives, the sanction system and other related matters concerning the marketing of olive oil, the production and marketing of dairy products, animal husbandry, best available techniques and soil nutrition.

The CAP, said the minister, represents 20% of the average income of an agricultural or livestock farm in Spain and its allocation for the period 2023-2027 amounts to 47.7 billion euros.

Two new features highlighted by the minister are a mandatory electronic relationship with the administration to manage the CAP and the use of the Information System for Agricultural and Livestock Farms, which will allow better control of benefits, applications and payments, the use of phytosanitary products, insecticides, pesticides, antibiotics in animal feed and even the accounting for water use on agricultural and livestock farms. "It will be voluntary between 2023 and 2025 and thereafter it will be mandatory," Planas said.

The minister announced that the regulation approved today will be complemented with up to eighteen royal decrees by December, shaping "the whole of this complex and dense instrument and legal architecture of the CAP, which is so important for Spain". This summer, moreover, the Spanish Strategic Plan for the CAP, on which the Government of Spain and the Regional Governments have worked together, is expected to be definitively approved.

Direct aid for the agricultural and livestock sector

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

The Royal Decree that establishes the Regulatory Bases for the Direct Granting of Exceptional Aid of 193.5 billion euros to compensate certain agricultural and livestock productions for the economic difficulties derived from the war in Ukraine is part of the National Response Plan to the Economic and Social Consequences of the War in Ukraine.

Of this amount, 129 billion is being financed from the national budget and 64.5 billion from European funds. Beef cattle farms will receive 110 million euros, sheep and goat meat 31.7 million, poultry meat 10 million, rabbit farming 3 million and citrus farming 38.7 million. The distribution of aid was agreed at the Sectoral Conference and its payment will be managed by the Regional Governments.

"This aid is very important in the current context of high agricultural and livestock prices, where inputs - particularly cereals, oilseeds and fertilisers - have risen sharply as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine," the minister explained. Cereals and oilseeds stand out at 50% more expensive than this time last year, and fertilisers are 100% more expensive.

Improving town waste

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

The Government has agreed to allocate 176.5 million euros to the autonomous communities and cities to improve town waste management and facilitate compliance with European objectives. The Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan is providing 175 million euros, while the other 1.5 million is being provided by the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Democratic Challenge.

The Minister for Territorial Policy and Government Spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez, explained that the funds will be used by the Regional Governments to build and improve waste treatment, collection and recycling facilities. She also specified that 47% of the funds will be used for the collection and separation of waste and its subsequent reuse.

Rodríguez stressed that this initiative is a government commitment to sustainability and the development of the circular economy, a strategic project that aims to accelerate the transition towards a more efficient and sustainable production system in the use of raw materials.

New Global Observatory for the Spanish language

The Executive has agreed to create the Global Spanish Observatory to maximise the value of the official languages in the process of digital transformation of the economy.

Isabel Rodríguez explained that this inter-ministerial collegiate body, which has no legal entity, will meet in La Rioja. The observatory will report to the Cervantes Institute and will be chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares.

This centre of analysis and perspective is part of the Strategic Project (PERTE) of the New Language Economy, which aims to lever the potential of Spanish and our country's other official languages as a factor of economic growth and competitiveness in the international arena in areas such as artificial intelligence, translation, learning, cultural dissemination, audiovisual production, research and science, the spokeswoman emphasised.

Combating school dropout

The Council of Ministers has approved the distribution to the Regional Governments of more that 118 million euros for the Territorial Cooperation Programme for Guidance, Advancement and Educational Enrichment in Centres of Special Educational Complexity (PROA+ programme). These funds are part of component 21 of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.

The Executive spokesperson has pointed out that the funds will be allocated to publicly funded schools with students with educational difficulties, who will be given individualised support. The aim is to improve the quality and equity of the system and to prevent early school leaving.

The funds will reach students in more than 3,000 schools across the country, especially those in deprived areas and those from more vulnerable families.

Non official translation