They agree to advance regulations due to the agricultural crisis – La Discusión 2024-04-14 15:06:12

For nearly four hours, representatives of winegrowers and farmers from the regions of Maule, Ñuble, Biobío and Araucanía were heard on the ground this week by the members of the Agriculture Commission of the Chamber of Deputies.

The meeting, held at the Agrícola Central headquarters in Talca, was also attended by Minister Esteban Valenzuela and representatives of the agencies dependent on the portfolio, such as Indap, SAG and Odepa.

Firstly, small and medium-sized wine growers and wine producers participated and reported that they are in crisis. They consider that they are exploited because of the low price paid per kilo of grapes. This is due to the dominant position of three vineyards that have an 85% share in the national market (Concha y Toro, San Pedro and Santa Rita).

Furthermore, intermediaries do not comply with the commercial transactions law that establishes the publication of the purchase price, information that does not reach the producers. They indicated that they pay between 100 and 180 pesos per kilo of grapes, both for country strain and others, such as sauvignon, chardoney, cabernet and carmenere. The prices paid are not enough to cover the costs of production and labor, they noted. This makes many want to leave the activity, because, in addition, they are in debt with Indap loans.

On the other hand, they stated that the legislation that allowed winemaking with table grapes has generated problems, because the quality of the wine has decreased. On the other hand, they indicated that wine is being produced with water and sweetener. And, the unfortunate thing is that these products such as wine cocktails or dealcoholized wine are sold as wine, despite having a lower alcohol content (8.5%). They criticized the lack of supervision because these products are billed like wines, which prevents free competition.

For this reason, they requested a series of measures since they are in check, such as prohibiting winemaking with table grapes. Also, that the ILA tax be eliminated for small and medium-sized SME producers and the designation of origin for the territory’s heritage strains. The idea is that added value is given to the grapes and they can continue marketing a more ancient wine.

Fernando Medina from Agrícola Central, stated that for four governments they have been raising the same problems in agricultural production; activity that little by little decreases in number of hectares, because it is not possible to cover production costs or compete with imported products. What is manifested in the wine, wheat and corn industries, among others.

In this regard, he asked to address the giant distortion that exists in the market and regretted the State’s lack of concern with what is happening in the country. Therefore, he urgently requested financing lines to compete.

The parliamentarians took up the call and, transversally, committed to moving forward to end the agricultural crisis and set rules for the market on issues of distortion and abuse of dominant position. As well as, advance food sovereignty and security. At this level, they will hold a special session with the presence of the Minister of Finance, because more financing is needed for said sector.

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