Sunday, August 1

Hail and the uprooting of vineyards sink the table grape harvest

This is how the organization warned this Thursday Asaja That, yes, it indicates that the fruit that remains will be of “exceptional quality”, although this will not compensate for the losses of the farmers in the area, who are currently finishing the bagging task and have already begun the collection of the earlier varieties.

In this way, of the 40 million kilos that had been registered in the denomination of origin for this year, the agrarian organization considers some 12 million lost, which will leave the final harvest at about 28 million, 30% less. Of course, if it is compared with the volumes that were handled only four years ago, in 2017, when they reached 50 million kilos, production has practically been reduced by half, according to the head of the Table Grape sector. from Asaja Alicante, Pedro Rubira.

The worst part is the Aledo variety, the New Year’s Eve grape, of which 7 million kilos have been lost due to the strong hail episodes in May and June, the abandonment of cultivation and the grape uprooting of this last year due to lack of profitability, which Asaja estimates at 300 hectares. Thus, of the 20 million kilos of this late variety registered with the regulatory council, this year only 13 million kilos will be marketed.

Of course, the quality will be “exceptional”, according to Rubira, due to the decrease in harvest and the April showers, that caused “that the bunch lengthened and the fruit had good fruit set”.

On the other hand, in the early varieties, such as Victoria o Red Globe, the decrease in production will be less marked, of 25%, so, together with other first-time varieties such as Ideal, Dominga or Doña María, it is expected to collect around 15 million kilos.

Half of jobs

In addition to the damages for the farmers themselves, from Asaja they point out that another consequence of the drop in production has been the reduction in the number of jobs that have been created in the task of bagging the grapes, which is done by hand, bunch by bunch, every summer. Thus, if the grape cultivation habitually employed around 11,000 people in the region, this campaign only around 5,000 workers have been able to work in the field, explains the president of Asaja Novelda.

On the other hand, Asaja denounces that one more year the Vinalopó table grape campaign is marked by an increase in production costs for the farmer, who has seen how they have increased by 75%, while continuing paying the same per kilo of grapes as 20 years ago.

These increases in costs have led to the fact that in recent years many vineyards have been uprooted due to lack of profitability. Thus, from the approximately 2,300 to 2,400 hectares registered in the DO four years ago, it has grown to about 1,600. Only in the last year have razed about 300 hectares.

The sector demands a permanent reduction of personal income tax

Asaja recalled yesterday his claim to achieve a permanent reduction of personal income tax paid by the producers of table grapes in Vinalopó, to compensate for the low profitability of this crop currently. Specifically, it calls for a reduction in the coefficients that apply to small producers who pay by modules. Exceptionally, the Government has already lowered them from 0.42 to 0.32 this year, but the farmers of Vinalopó want the reduction to be permanent and that the coefficient be set at 0.22 forever.

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