Thursday, March 30

The purchase of grapes below cost will cause losses of 124 million, according to La Unión

A seasonal worker picks grapes in a vineyard in Almendralejo. / TODAY

This is indicated by the agrarian organization, which also ensures that this is caused by an “illegal agreement” reached by industrialists to buy grapes at low prices

The Union of Extremadura has calculated at 124 million euros the losses that winegrowers will add this campaign due to the low price at which they are buying their crops, which is even below production costs.

The technical secretary of the agrarian organization, Luis Cortés, has shown in a press conference a contract made by a winery in the region to a viticulturist for which the kilo of grapes is being paid at 14 cents, when they calculate that the cost of production amounts to 40 euro cents.

This situation occurs, he explained, due to the “illegal” agreement to which he assures that the industrialists have arrived to buy the grapes at low prices.

However, despite being an illegal practice, he assures that they cannot report it because the Food Chain Law is not yet in force until the registration of contracts is enabled, so that “they can pay below the cost that they do not absolutely nothing happens to them”.

On the other hand, he added that the Junta de Extremadura has not made public the production costs prepared by the price observatory. Some costs that have been published in other production areas, such as in the Rioja denomination of origin, which have been estimated at 58 cents.

Some losses that will mainly affect a region, such as Tierra de Barros, which will also be affected by the olive harvest, which has ensured that “not one olive” will be harvested throughout the campaign, not even for table nor for oil, due to weather conditions. “We foresee a real economic disaster for Tierra de Barros this year.”

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No water for new irrigation

On the other hand, Cortés has asked the Board to reconsider going ahead with the new irrigation projects due to the scarcity of water in the swamps, which have already left 40,000 hectares without watering this year and a “true disaster” is expected. for next year.

Thus, he has asked the government of Extremadura to listen to statements by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Hugo Morán, in which he advocates reducing the irrigated area and cutting back on water exploitation concessions.

In this sense, he calls on the Board to carry out a “realistic” study on the provisions of water for irrigation before going ahead with the expropriations, since he considers that farmers are being pushed to make “million-dollar investments” without having “the certainty that the affected lands will actually be able to be irrigated.

A “waste” of public funds and investments by the farmers themselves that he considers that the regional Executive is keeping ahead for “political reasons”, given that regional elections will be held next year.

“We are going to stop being stupid because we are wasting public funds to go to elections with a fantasy”, in relation to the Tierra de Barros project, when “the reality is that there is no water” for new irrigation, and that it is necessary to save on those that already exist.

Cortés goes further, and points out that the current climate situation forces to put on the table measures to try to mitigate its adverse effects, or else the region may find itself next year with a situation of “total drought” in its irrigation.

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