At the meeting of the Joint Committee of France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, held on Wednesday in Paris, it was agreed to set up a new contact group for the table grape with the aim of creating a framework for dialogue and stable cooperation for this sector which has grown strongly in recent years. The first meeting will take place within the framework of Fruit Attraction, which will be held from 22 to 24 October, in Madrid.
The grape growers and marketers of APOEXPA, the wholesale association of the table grape sector in Spain, which is part of FEPEX, have held several meetings with industry representatives from France, Italy and Portugal throughout the year, confirming a joint interest in the constitution of a contact group, with the aim of creating a forum for dialogue that enables the analysis of European production and marketing.
The constitution of the table grape contact group is also justified given the growth in production of the seedless grape, especially in Spain and Italy and the increasing demand in Europe. Therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food was asked to start formal procedures with the administrations of France, Italy and Portugal for the constitution of this group, which ended on Wednesday with its official constitution.
The cultivation of table grapes in Spain is concentrated in the area located in the Levant on the Iberian Peninsula, mainly in Alicante and the Region of Murcia and to a lesser extent in Andalusia. The area set aside for the cultivation of grapes in 2018, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, is 13,792 hectares with a production of 272,800 tons. Within the cultivation of table grapes, seedless varieties are the most in demand, increasing their production year-on-year, mainly due to their quality and ease of consumption. At present Spain is the top European producer of seedless table grapes and most of the surface area taken up by this variety is concentrated in Murcia, which has 3,000 hectares.
The first meeting of the France, Italy, Spain and Portugal table grape contact group will take place within the framework of FRUIT ATTRACTION, the international fair for the fruit and vegetable sector, organized by IFEMA and FEPEX, which will hold its eleventh edition from October 22 to 24 in Madrid.