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Madalena ,  August 27, 2019

VITIS applications open in October, announces João Ponte

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry announced today on Pico Island that the applications for the Support Scheme for the Conversion and Restructuring of Vineyards (VITIS) will open in October to continue the efforts towards the growth of such an emblematic and important sector for preservation, landscape conservation, economic development, job creation and wealth generation.
"The Regional Government is in a position to announce that a new VITIS opening notice will be launched next October, with an allocation of four million Euros, which will allow the conversion of another 150 hectares of vineyards," said João Ponte. According to him, this is an opportunity for producers to convert their vineyards and invest in grape varieties suitable for the production of certified wine.
This morning, João Ponte accompanied the harvest of a 6.7 hectare vineyard producer and the delivery of grapes at the Winery Cooperative, having then met with the institution's board.
So far, VITIS has already enabled the conversion of 800 hectares of vineyards in the Azores through an overall investment of 21 million Euros.
The Regional Secretary acknowledged that, although the year was apparently favourable for grape production, the persistent rainfall registered in August caused production losses.
"The harvesting season has begun now, so we have to wait until the end to assess the real losses that occurred this year," said João Ponte.
The Secretary for Agriculture stressed that the Regional Government, recalling that in this year's POSEI programme provided for an increase of regional funds over 350 thousand Euros. This amount added up to the 500 thousand Euros granted in the aid for the maintenance of the vineyards for the production of wines bearing the designation of origin (DO) and geographical identification (GI) certifications. Overall, the aid paid to producers reached 1.1 million Euros.
“In order to respond to the sector's growth, the POSEI 2020 programme proposal, already submitted to Brussels, provides for a 15% budget increase in this aid compared to the POSEI allocation in 2019,” stated João Ponte.
The genuineness and authenticity of certified wines produced in the Azores is another aspect that has deserved a great deal of attention from the Regional Government. This is fundamental to ensure the sustainability of the wine sector and should mobilise all players in the sector.
In addition to reinforcing the control mechanisms for the labelling of wine bottles, João Ponte pointed out that, recently, another very important measure has been implemented with the collaboration of the Regional Wine Commission (CVR) of the Azores, such as winery control.
This control measure will be carried out on the 21 economic agents in the Azores producing certified wine. It will mainly focus on the quantity and quality of the grapes delivered to the wineries by category, namely Designation of Origin (DO), Geographic Identification (GI) or others.
Currently, there are around 1,000 hectares of vineyards in the Region suitable for certified wine production. The Azores have three wine producing regions: Pico, Graciosa and Terceira (Biscoitos).
João Ponte also admitted that the lack of labour force for vineyards could become a problem in the medium/long term. However, he stressed that if it is possible to undertake all the vineyard conversion efforts, namely on Pico, it will continue to be possible to have available labour force, as agriculture should be increasingly regarded as a noble and profitable activity.
Another challenge for the sector concerns the strengthening of the processing capacity. In this regard, João Ponte revealed that the Government has already established contacts with potential investors, which are still undergoing. Additionally, the possibility of opening an exclusive notice under PRORURAL+ for investments in processing units is being considered in the context of the current Community Support Framework. This measure is expected to act as an incentive to attract potential investors.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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