This is the challenge that Ángel Villafranca, President of the Agri-Food Cooperatives of Castilla-La Mancha, wants to confront at the Ordinary General Assembly that the organization is holding at Fenavin
The National Trade Fair on Wine was the meeting place of the different members of the Agri-Food Cooperatives Association, where they debated and explained the main lines of action that the organization will be following in the upcoming year, in which the creation of ten cooperative groups that will unite almost two-hundred and twenty-five of the region's wineries and cooperatives. The Minister of Agriculture, José Luis Martínez Guijarro, was in charge of closing the event.
During the event the main lines of action of the Castilla-La Mancha Agri-Food Cooperatives Strategic Plan were explained. According to José Luis Rojas, Director of Agri-Food Cooperatives, "the objective behind these lines of action is to achieve greater influence on the wine market and, consequently, defend the income of the vine growers, which in turn is a basic challenge of the cooperatives that form part of our organization."
This is a turning point in the way the region's wineries and cooperatives are working. "We have tried, with all means possible, to integrate our associates' offer so that our winery owners can continue on the market, something that would be impossible on an individual basis," affirms Villafranca, President of the Castilla-La Mancha Agri-Food Cooperatives.
This is an agreement on which the region's Department of Agriculture has also actively wagered, "as it is very receptive and sensitive to our demands and proposals," Ángel Villafranca continued.
This support was also corroborated in the closing of the event, in which the Minister of Agriculture of Castilla-La Mancha, José Luis Martínez Guijarro, was also present, underscoring that the organizations of wine and grape must producers represent the main tool in order to achieve these objectives. Martínez Guijarro also highlighted the importance of being present on international markets, without, of course, forgetting the domestic market, because despite the fact that Spain is the biggest producer of wine, the country doesn't actually reach optimum levels of consumption. "In order to really take the big step in internationalization, the size of the cooperative groups must be such that they can actually undertake the international markets," the Minister explained.
In short, the idea is to put 70% of the country's production into exports, as currently only 50% is being exported, which translates into more than a billion liters, although the goal is to export 1.4 billion. "These additional four million would be for the emerging countries in which a considerable increase in wine consumption is taking place," Martínez Guijarro continued.
The Minister is confident that the region will be capable of producing quality products, adequate and adapted to the tastes of each country, hence the reason why the ministry supports all the producer organizations and cooperatives and members that form part of the same. "This is very important additional support, because we are quite aware of the difficulties that the managing boards quite often confront in order to make these messages understood in their own assemblies," he concludes.
This has been an assembly in which the sector's current moment was debated, a sector that has more of a future before it than a past," according to Martínez Guijarro, and the report covering management and the activities carried out during the past year was also presented, apart from approving the annual accounts for the year 2010, the general budget for the year 2011 and serving as a platform of recognition for all those persons who have been working in the organization or as members for the last ten or even twenty years.