European Farmland Under Pressure

European Farmland under Pressure Due to Regulation and Diversion

By Laurie Greene, Editor

Jose Gomez Carrasco, executive sales manager for AGQ Labs and Technological Services based in Oxnard, is in charge of covering a large area that includes the U.S., Mexico and Central America. Noting global concern regarding how farmland is being used, particularly European farmland, Carrasco said, “There’s a growing population of around 150,000 or 170,000 new mouths every day to feed.” Carrasco said agricultural production on land designated for agricultural use in every country, worldwide, is being diverted to bio-ethanol, or bio-mass, or different renewable energy use, so the availability of agricultural products for food is diminishing.

Carrasco stated this progression needs to be moving in the opposite direction, “especially because there are other issues that are making production more challenging, such as water scarcity, soil erosion and the use and price of agro-chemicals, inputs and fertilizers, all of which are being controlled and monitored more and more.”

“The regulation of crop protection materials is intended to help everyone in the food supply chain,” he continued, “all the way from the grower to the consumer; however, sometimes these regulations can be quite burdensome.”

“In some cases regulations are not for the benefit of all,” Carrasco explained; “just for some. So in markets such as the European Union where the [maximum threshold] number of molecules registered has diminished from 1,000 to 300 or 400 in the last decade, we’re finding a lot of this regulation comes from Germany.” Carrasco said they are leaving a lot of farmers with no agro-chemicals in their arsenal, especially in Spain, Portugal, and Greece, all in southern Europe.

2014 Zante Currant Raisin Price Established

The Raisin Bargaining Association (RBA) has announced the establishment of the 2014 Zante Currant raisin price of $1,900 per ton ($ .95 per pound) based on the following formula:


The RBA 2014 Zante Currant raisin price announcement is identical to last year. The formula has been adjusted by increasing the transportation expense from $7 last year to $15 per ton which better reflects the actual cost.

Greece is the largest producer of Zante Currants in the world and has an above average crop, which results in an abundant supply of Zante Currant raisins in the world.

California sales of Zante Currant raisins was strong this past year, but the world supply situation is challenging the industry’s ability to maintain export movement. Issues with the West Coast dock slowdown have already impacted several key months of shipments. California Raisin growers continue to produce the highest quality and safest Zante Currants in the world and will need to see this price increase in the future to justify continued production.

For further information, contact Glen Goto, CEO, RBA at (559) 221-1925 and