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22/10/2009

Winegrowers demonstrate across France

(First appeared on La Journée Vinicole, edition number 201, October 21 2009)

Like its Mediterranean neighbours, parts of the French wine industry are in recession with market prices failing to cover production costs in many regions.

With similar issues facing fruit and vegetable growers and cattle breeders, the national farmers’ union FNSEA organised several demonstrations across the country on October 16th.

In 2008, winegrowers’ incomes fell nationwide by 22% for AC vineyards and 35% in non-AC areas, though in regions such as Languedoc-Roussillon and Aquitaine the declines reached 65% and 57% respectively.

“Last July, the wine industry presented the Minister an assistance plan aimed at improving the financial situation for winegrowers," said industry association AGPV in a statement.

"It is still waiting for a concrete response.”

The association claims the French wine industry is not competitive enough and needs to improve market intelligence, revamp market regulation tools and promote more multi-annual contracts between shippers and growers.

Of major concern to AGPV, in terms of market regulation, is the EC’s planned abolition of planting rights in 2014.

“Like other sectors, the wine industry needs instruments for regulating production and markets” believes AGPV.

A disagreement over subsidies has led to a split between Southern French winegrowers and growers from other regions who demonstrated on Friday.

The Vignerons du Midi union, which boasts some 6000 members, has decided to organise its own demonstration on November 25th in Montpellier.

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