Thousands of farmers staged a demo outside the ministry of agriculture in Madrid, calling for the resignation of minister Miguel Arias because of his corn policy. Numbers varied from 4'000 according to the farmers and 1'500 according to the National Police. They unloaded a lorry of 2'000 kilos of corn and stubble opposite the ministry, topped it with a scarecrow with a photograph of Arias as a face and then set it on fire, letting off firecrackers at the same time. A group of representatives of the farmers, who came mainly from Aragon, Castile and Leon, Andalucia, Extremadurand Madrid, were received by the director of agriculture, Rafael Milan. They demanded urgent reforms to the sector, and an increase in the area for growing corn allotted to Spain. Spokesman Eduardo Navarro said that Milan had promised to study the petitions, although he thought it difficult that the European Union would allow a change in the regulations governing the sector. Navarro, however, said that the question was easily negotiable in the European Union. According to the farmers' union COAG, some 100'000 farmers will be penalised, and Navarro said it was unfair that small farmers should be penalised at the same level as the big farms and speculators. A spokesman for the Castile and Leon area said that instead of importing two million tons of corn from the United States and third countries every year, an additional 200'000 hectares could be planted in Spain. Spain's quota for planting corn assigned by the European Union is 403'000 hectares which this year has been exceeded by between 23 and 25 per cent. This represents losses to the sector in the region of 5'600 million pesetas due to penalties, the farmers' union said.

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