A representative from UNESCO, government ministers and muscatel grape experts were in El Borge recently to consider the Axarquía's muscatel grape for inclusion on the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nation's (FAO) agricultural heritage list.
The application was made by Andalucía's regional government, the Junta de Andalucía, in the summer and the visit formed part of the application process.
To help him come to a decision, Professor Mauro Agnoletti, the only European representative of GIAHS (Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems), was shown aspects of the muscatel grape cultivation and production including its uniqueness in Europe, gastronomy, economic importance and environmental impact.
During his visit, Mr Agnoletti was accompanied by Spain's minister for agriculture, fisheries, food and environment, Marta Cimas, as well as Javier Salas, from the Junta de Andalucía. Salas said, “achieving this declaration is enormously important and comparable to the world heritage status that has been given to the dolmens of Antequera.” Salas hopes that the Malaga muscatel grape's inclusion on the FAO's agricultural heritage list will preserve the sector, boost tourism, increase the value of the grapes and wine and ensure that the population of muscatel wine producing villages such as Almáchar, El Borge, Iznate, Moclinejo, Cútar, Cómpeta y Sayalonga will not dwindle. “This will open up doors to subsidies and aid to safeguard the cultivation and production,” explained Salas.
Other candidates for the status were the Malaga and Valle Salado de Añana (Álava) raisins along with two Italian and one Portuguese applications. The UN's GIAHS programme is designed to promote national and international understanding and recognition of producers and local communities dependence on traditional agricultural systems. This is the first European system to get on the list.