Brussels to write a

28/01/2014 Vineyards, like other agricultural land, will have access to funding per hectare and will be among the recipients of direct contributions dispensed from Brussels

Winemakers, 600 million worth of help from the EU… Grants from Brussels will also interest fruit producers… Brussels to write a 600 million euro cheque for Italian wine every year. According to initial estimates, the recent agriculture reform policies amount to this positive return for the Italian wine sector. In fact, with the revision of the CAP and the launch of a new common organization of markets (Single CMO), vineyards and orchards will become part of the “eligible surfaces” or rather production surfaces for which subsidies from the EU have been approved for the first time.

Ultimately even vineyards, just as other agricultural land, will qualify for funding per hectare and will be among the recipients of direct contributions assigned in Brussels. A budget which will be reserved only for “active farmers” (to avoid financing for land owners who do not farm) and which for Italy will total about 24 billion dollars for the period from 2014 to 2020, down from 6.5% (according to the most cautious estimates) with respect to the period from 2007 to 2013.

Considering that the total budget will decrease, the new recipients will obtain resources which will be recovered from other areas for which there will be cuts in contributions (according to Mipaaf, the Italian Ministry of agricultural, food and forestry policies, the average total grant per hectare will drop from 404 to 378 euros). As for the amount of grants for wine and the redistribution of funds among the sectors, the conditional remains obligatory nonetheless given that many applicable choices must still be made by Italy and the deadline to communicate such to Brussels is set for the month of August.

However other countries have already finalized theirs, and France, for example, has decided to exclude vineyards from CAP grants: a choice that has already provoked a wave of appeals. Instead, among the farmers in Italy, there seems to be the hypothesis to also include the sector which will receive direct aid. According to the agricultural organizations and considering that the eligible surface is of 400,000 hectares of vineyards, (what has emerged from production declarations and which seems more in line with the concept of an active farmer) it is thought that for a vineyard a grant of 10 euros per hectare (much below the average) would be estimated for the winemaking sector in Italy a total limit of 600 million euros a year.

“It must be made clear,” explains the Domenico Bosco, wine manager for Coldiretti, “that already today there are vineyards that receive a production grant, because the vines are cultivated on land which produced something else in the past, for example, grains. And therefore the activity on the vineyard permits them to now receive the grants accrued in the past. Excluding vineyards from recipients, we would have winemakers who would receive the funding anyway while others would be refused. And this is not possible.

No wonder it seems that this principle is the basis of many appeals presented in France against the exclusion of vineyards.” For many, the insertion of the sector is an important opportunity “given that Italian wine,” adds Palma Esposito of Confagricoltura, “has already demonstrated, by the contributions to the restoration of vineyards to those for the promotion of wine abroad, to know how to invest available resources. And it will also, in the future.” All in all, for others the opening of EU grants to wine “is simply only to be expected,” says CIA viticultural manager Domenico Mastrogiovanni, “an acknowledgement of the important role carried out by the sector over the years in terms of gross national product, of jobs, of exports, and not by the least, of supporting the Made-in-Italy image in the world.”

Source: Il Sole 24 Ore