German consumer campaign launched against “drought strawberries” from Doñana 

Tue 13/06/2023 by Richard Wilkinson

“Stop the theft of water to produce cheap strawberries!” This is the slogan of the German citizens’ platform Campact!, which has been collecting signatures online to push German supermarkets to stop supplying strawberries grown using the water from Spain’s protected Doñana national park.

The goal is to reach 200,000 signatures and present a petition to supermarket chains Edeka, Lidl, Aldi or Rewe to urge them to temporarily stop selling “drought strawberries”, a nickname for the strawberries that come from the fields near the Doñana National Park.

Germany is currently the main importing country of the Huelva strawberry, concentrating annually around 30% of the purchases of this product, 64,800 tons in the 2021-2022 season. The total volume of exports was worth around €500 million, and sales to Germany were around €150 million, according to data provided by the Association of Strawberry and Fruit Producers and Exporters. Rojos de Huelva (Freshuelva) and the Junta de Andalucía Price Observatory.

In the Hermanstraße shopping centre, a suburban train and subway stop located in the south of Berlin, Renate, an elderly lady who has just done her shopping at Rewe, told that “supermarkets should commit to making their products farms do not come from places where there is drought.” 

The campaign group state that the Doñana National Park suffers from enormous water shortages due to drought and the climate crisis. The thesis made by those responsible for the campaign is based on a set of information from German and international media that accounts for the desiccation that this area of western Andalusia is suffering. Large German newspapers, such as the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the progressive newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung have dealt critically with the problem of agricultural activity in the vicinity of the Doñana national park.

Campact! advocates not buying products that come from a region threatened by drought. “As consumers, we cannot influence how strawberries are grown, but we can affect supermarkets,” they said, adding that “supermarkets can choose their suppliers.”

Those responsible for the campaign against “the cheap drought strawberries” want to send a clear message that “Andalusia must not continue supplying Europe with cheap fruits without taking the environment into account.” 


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