Over 600 growers gathered yesterday in the Spanish town of Requena, near Valencia, to protest against the ‘serious crisis’ affecting the wine industry, demanding immediate change from the government to safeguard the future of the growers.
The 10-hour protest was organised by growers’ unions La Unió, AVA-ASAJA and the Cooperative Viticultural de La Plana de Requena-Utiel, protesting against a system in which growers ‘have continually had to seek new loans and increase borrowing in order to live.’
In recent years, local producers and cooperatives had agreed to financial help to improve their production structures ‘with the aim of being more competitive enterprises’.
But many now face ‘difficulties in the repayment of loans granted under this type of aid, with catastrophic economic results.’
In separate press releases, the unions condemned the ‘passivity’ of the government which they claim has led to the ‘total paralysis of the wine market.’
The president of the AVA-ASAJA, Cristóbal Aguado, criticised the ‘complacency and inaction’ of the government and called for Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to ‘approve an urgent solution to the crisis.’
The unions have demanded ‘the granting of zero interest loans to cooperatives as an advance payment to members on account of future trade.’
Governmental insurance ‘to alleviate the loss of income, ensuring a minimum income that allows reinvestment in their operations to ensure business continuity’ was also demanded by the union coalition.
Further union protests are scheduled to take place in Utiel on April 22nd and in Valencia on April 29th.
Written by John Abbott