Monday, 5 November 2012

Worries about liberalisation of planting rights

Growers are following with concern the EU debate on planting liberalisation which could do away with their rights with the stroke of a pen. These rights have been acquired thanks to decades of work through generations of family, or bought at a high price during the good times when they were more profitable. The growers reject the proposed change in the system which could see prices fall and break the current hard-earned balance of supply and demand.

Many fear that these reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy will see the big wine companies, who just want the best priced grapes, swinging the balance towards liberalisation of certain rights, which in many DO’s including Jerez are subject to the rule of the Consejo, which is authorised to permit new plantings in line with demand.

But this liberalisation could allow speculation. There is the possibility that those growers who benefited from substantial Community aid to uproot their vines from 2008-10 could now obtain new planting rights without having to pay back the grants. It seems that there was no time limit on when a grower could return to wine growing, and so the whole idea of supply matching demand could be thrown out of the window.

The EU is debating whether to maintain the limitation on planting till 2018 or to go ahead in 2015, be it partially or wholly, but is keeping details close to its chest. The growers are roundly opposed to the change, and have asked the Ministry of Agriculture to be firm in its opposition.

Growers from 50 European wine regions are united against the EU reform and have nearly amassed enough votes to stop it. It affects the whole EU, not just Spain.

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