INTRODUCTION: Spanish farmers blocked the Madrid to Coruna highway with tractors on Thursday ( 24 February) to protest at low price they're receiving for their potato crops.
GV Cars blocking road at start of farmers demonstration in Spain. ( 4 shots)
SV TRACKING SHOT Along stationary tractors, trucks and small cars.
GV AND SV Farmers seated on ground talking and stoking fire. ( 3 shots)
SV AND CU Farmers having lunch. ( 2 shots)
GV Farmers seated around fire.
SV Banner on side of tractor.
GV PAN Tractors and machinery as farmers stand around.
Initials VS 15.55
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Spanish farmers blocked the Madrid to Coruna highway with tractors on Thursday ( 24 February) to protest at low price they're receiving for their potato crops.
SYNOPSIS: Several miles of the highway were put out of action during the demonstration, which is the latest in a series of protests. In an earlier one, two farmers were injured when civil guards opened fire on demonstrators on the same stretch of road. Potato crops are one of the mainstays of Spanish agriculture and when prices are low, the livelihood of many farmers suffers severely. The low prices highlight the slow drift away from agriculture which until recent years, was the backbone of the country's economy.
Between 1960 and 1970, the proportion of the working population engaged in agriculture dropped from 41 to 28 percent. The government's now trying to boost industries such as tourism, chemical, textiles and ship building, while endeavouring to maintain agriculture at its current levels.
The farmers protests highlight the severe problems the Spanish government faces in trying to stabilise the economy before spring elections. Finance Minister Eduardo Carriles announced plans earlier this week to curb inflation, increase jobs and reduce the payment deficit.
No concrete measures were announced, except that more money would be put into industrial expansion. Drastic austerity measures would be highly unpopular, especially at a time when the governments preparing for the first democratic elections since the 1936-1939 Civil War.