The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development, Francisco Martínez Arroyo, said, after meeting with the president of Agro-food Cooperatives of Spain, Angel Villafranca, that Castilla-La Mancha is the region of the world «that will be more resilient to climate change», the best prepared to face it thanks to native crops and well adapted to the territory and its large number of hectares of organic production.
Martínez Arroyo has given as an example the vineyard. In Castilla-La Mancha, «the vineyard grows by nature, we have native varieties extraordinarily adapted to drought, able to face climate change», he said. In addition, he said that «we have 63,000 hectares of organic vineyard», a figure that grows every year and will continue to receive support from the regional government, through a new line of aid in the next CAP.
The minister stressed that the objective is to protect 50,000 hectares of vines over 50 years old, in glass and rain-fed, for which 26 million euros will be allocated over the next five years, which will mean an average aid of 100 euros per hectare.
In addition, Martínez Arroyo recalled that on August 31 will enter into force the new Law of the Vineyard and Wine of Castilla-La Mancha, a «modern» regulation that was approved in the regional courts recently and that is fundamental because «we are the region with the most vineyard area, the one that produces the most wine and the winery in the world».
During the meeting held today they also addressed the anticipation of the regional government to drought. In this sense, the counselor said that «we are trying to go ahead, invest first in infrastructure, which are made when water is needed: wells, pipes or pipes». In addition, he indicated that to address the problems we already «anticipate livestock subsidies».
Regarding water, «a very important investment effort has been made in collaboration with the Government of Spain,» said Martínez Arroyo, who recalled actions in the riverine municipalities of the reservoirs of Entrepeñas and Buendía; the Campo de Calatrava, in the province of Ciudad Real; or the Pipeline to the Plain Manchega, which will be launched «within a very little» and will supply quality water in sufficient quantity to 80,000 castellanomanchegos of 15 municipalities, «so that the region can continue to prosper», he said.
The minister confirmed that there is less surplus of wine in the warehouses of the wineries, due to the good pace of sales in the region. Stocks in the winery, at the end of the campaign, «are around eleven million hectolitres of wine and must, two million less than last year. Very positive data for the market, added to the short harvest and high quality expected in Castilla-La Mancha», he explained.
Regarding the cereal campaign, Martínez Arroyo explained that it is «within the average», although «lower than the last one, which was extraordinarily positive». In his opinion, the cereal sector in Castilla-La Mancha will be able to compete in a market that is «very profitable» in the sale of the product, as the campaign has been here «better than in other autonomous communities and that will benefit our peoples, because in many cases they are cooperatives who market them».
About melon and watermelon, he has valued the current as «an extraordinarily positive campaign, thanks to which the sector has been able to organize». The minister recalled that «less land has been planted than other years, about 8,000 hectares, and prices rise every week». In this regard, he detailed that «we are close» to 0.80 euros per kilo of watermelon and 0.65 euros per kilo of melon, crops that are proving «very profitable» for farmers in the region. In addition, much of the production is being exported: «today there is not a single watermelon in Europe or a single melon that is not produced in Castilla-La Mancha», he said.
Exports that remain very positive for the agri-food sector in general. According to the latest export data, during the first half of the year, 33% of the total exports of Castilla-La Mancha have been agri-food, with an increase of ten percent over the previous year. «The sector continues to grow,» said the minister.