Editor’s note: This year, not only the lives and health of thousands of people are threatened by the coronavirus epidemic, but also the industries on which many people depend for their livelihood. It’s better to get up and save yourself than to wait for death. There are always more ways than difficulties. Only with confidence can we see the sun. The sixth part of the European Anti-epidemic Story, about an ordinary farmer’s dilemma, please check it.
Madrid, November 21 The Pyrenees Mountains extend to the autonomous region of Catalonia in eastern Spain. The scenery is magnificent and the natural conditions are suitable. Maselgliadre Farm is located in the village of Leslos in the Pyrenees.
This family-owned farm enterprise mainly produces beef, pork and various dairy products. Until this year, 80% of the farm’s products were sold to local restaurants, bars and other places.
Spain has not been spared by the COVID-19 epidemic, and it has become one of the countries with the worst epidemic in the world. The severe epidemic has hit the Spanish restaurant industry, and the products of the Maselgliadre farm have also been unsalable.
In order to slow the spread of the epidemic, the government of the Autonomous Region of Catalonia recently made the decision to close local bars and restaurants by the 23rd of this month, which made the farm even more difficult.
In the face of this dilemma, farmer Marina Puigkolbei did not sit idly and die. Thinking of the online store that had been built a few years ago but was not officially opened, Puig Colbe’s idea came.
Puigkolbé immediately opened the online store, shifted the focus of farm operation to online, and began to promote the product through social media.
“This is the way we are attracting new customers right now,” she said. While the revenue from the online store’s operation “is temporarily unable to be the same as when working with restaurants”, Puig Corbe said that this was at least enough to “sell the product and inventory”.
According to the data provided by the Spanish Beef Producers Association, Spanish meat producers have lost more than 100 million euros in beef sales since March this year.
But Maseliadre Farm has found new customers and business opportunities by developing online business. “We reached new customers through the network that we had no idea about us, which gave us hope that we would sell our products farther,” Puigkolbe said.
Spain’s agriculture and food industry plays an important role in the economic field, with nearly half a million employees and a turnover of 100 billion euros, generating 28.45 billion euros in added value, accounting for 2.5% of Spain’s GDP.
The difficulties of Maselliadre Farm are not unique. After the outbreak of the epidemic, agriculture and food sales across Spain face the same problem.
Barcelona, the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia, has 43 farmers’ markets, most of which are located in historic buildings. The “Bogella” market on the street of Lambras is a famous tourist attraction in Barcelona. However, in recent months, due to various restrictions and quarantine measures caused by the epidemic, the operation of these markets has also encountered unprecedented crises.
In order to revitalize the farmers’ market, the Barcelona Market Association and the Federation of Markets, in cooperation with the city council, plan to launch a project called “Market Square” in the near future, allowing more than 2,000 stall owners who used to set up stalls in the physical farmers’ market to continue to sell products online.
“It’s clear that consumers’ spending habits have changed, they’ve begun to choose different ways of spending and gradually become accustomed to online shopping,” said Montserrat Baralin, head of the business and marketing department of Barcelona.
The “Market Square” project allows customers to place orders and shop through virtual windows in web pages and mobile phone applications, and are free to choose several ways to deliver goods to their homes, pick up at booths or pick up goods from lockers. Baralin said that some markets have previously opened online platform business, and the demand for such online shopping has increased nearly tenfold during the national emergency in Spain.
The “Market Square” is planned to be gradually implemented in the first half of 2021. The city of Barcelona hopes that by next spring, the vast majority of stall owners who originally operated physical stalls in farmers’ markets will sign the agreement of the plan, and then the first lockers in 14 markets for customers to pick up their own goods will also be put into use.
It is expected that by the end of 2022, the city of Barcelona will invest 2.8 million euros in the “Market Square” project for the renovation of market buildings and the use of innovative technologies and equipment.
According to the statistics of Spain’s online market research and consulting agency, online retail sales in Spain will increase by 12.5% to 26.8 billion euros this year, and by 2023, this figure will reach 36 billion euros.
In the face of the impact of the epidemic, Puigkolbe used online business to open up a new situation for the farm. This convinced her that as long as confidence and hope, from her own farms to countries around the world, she can definitely defeat the epidemic.