Authorities at the launch of the campaign on Tuesday / sur

'We all eat grapes' publicity campaign launched for Axarquía raisins

The aim of the initiative is to promote the responsible and sustainable consumption of the crop after it was recognised by the UN in 2018

Eugenio Cabezas

The Muscatel grape is in decline in the Axarquia, overtaken by the more profitable subtropical fruits and locals are being encouraged to replace grapevines with mango or avocado trees. However, in the highest villages in the area, such as Cútar, Moclinejo, Almáchar, El Borge and Iznate, cultivation of the grape is still going on, with some 2,000 families involved in the industry.

In April 2018, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) declared the Alexandria Muscatel grape an Important System of World Agricultural Heritage (SIPAM), but since the announcement there has been very little activity in the area to promote either the grape or its new found international status.

However, Spain's Ministry of Consumer Affairs, headed by Alberto Garzón from Malaga, and the Mancomunidad of the Costa del Sol Axarquia, have reached a collaboration agreement and launched a publicity campaign entitled 'We all eat grapes. For responsible and sustainable consumption' with the aim of promoting the grape across the province’s hospitality industry and indeed in people’s homes.

"It was the first crop in Europe to receive this distinction and it deserves the promotion to give back to the farmers what they have given to the Axarquía for generations", said president of the Mancomunidad, José Juan Jiménez during the launch on Tuesday.

"With 'We all eat grapes' we want to promote the consumption of grapes in the province," he stressed. According to provincial data, there are currently 1,130 hectares of Alexandria Muscatel vineyards destined for the production of raisins or wines with designation of origin, spread over the municipalities of 26 municipalities of the Axarquia, with a potential production of about 3.4 million kilos of grapes.

Social networks

"It is for this reason that a promotional campaign to encourage consumption and support the grape market, as well as healthy and sustainable consumption in the Axarquia and in the province of Malaga in general, is considered of vital importance," Aroa Palma, spokesperson for the initiative, highlighted.

She went on to say that the aims of the campaign are "to promote the consumption of Malaga grapes; to support agriculture and the agri-food industry; to raise awareness of the nutritional, energetic and therapeutic values of this product; to highlight respect for the traditions of its cultivation and to give visibility to the SIPAM Association".

Palma explained that the campaign will be disseminated on social networks of the Mancomunidad and the Axarquía Film Offices. Articles and reports will also be promoted in specialised, tourism and agri-food magazines, as well as advertising in traditional and digital media. These include the production and broadcasting of an informative video on different television stations in Malaga province.

"We will also produce a leaflet to be distributed in the different tourist information offices and points in the province, as these are the most popular places for visitors and future consumers. They will also be present at promotional fairs, congresses and other events related to the promotion of tourism and gastronomy in the Axarquía and the province," added the Tourism spokesman, Juan Peñas. The campaign will run until 1 December.