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Areas Urbanism & territory, Tourism and Economic activities Agriculture, Livestock, Fishing & Hunting

Farmers' co-op wraps up harvest of 56 hectares

Foto recolectoraThe Formentera Council's Office of Rural Affairs has reported that the local farmers' co-operative, la Cooperativa del Camp, has finished harvesting the plots of land that were donated to its Farmland Reserve project. Co-op workers mowed through a total of 49 hectares (ha); 26ha of barley in Sant Ferran, 7ha of oat in Sant Francesc and Porto Salé, and 26ha of wheat in La Mola.

The Cooperativa also harvested eight hectares that belong to Co-op members. Department head Bartomeu Escandell commented: “There's still plenty to be done. However, these initial steps are a sign of the work that's already under way to revive Formentera's primary sector and preserve our countryside”. The councillor also spoke about the unfortunate toll this year's drought has already taken the Co-op's maiden year.

However, Escandell hailed the shrewdness of farmers who this year opted for local cereals, which proved better suited to resist drought. Members of the Co-op pointed out that farmers who went with certified seeds lost their crops.

Local kids offered new round of introductory farming course

Horta Infantil x Eva Parey 007The Formentera Council's agriculture office has announced it will offer a new round of made-for-children courses in introductory agriculture. Participants must be between 3 and 12 and can be signed up from today, July 1 through July 8, either in person at the Citizens' Information Office (OAC) or online on the Formentera Council website. That was the announcement made today by rural affairs councillor Bartomeu Escandell, who shared his excitement at being able to propose a second round of the beginning level farming classes still in their first year.

The thirty students who attended classes this winter spent six weeks learning how to prepare a vegetable garden and use fertilisers as well as tips on sowing and planting. Councillor Escandell said another part of the course saw students getting a primer in the important role of the countryside and proper care for the environment.

Classes start July 12
The second round of classes starts July 12, with three groups each getting two hours of instruction per week. The workshop-style learning sessions will take place Tuesdays 6.30 to 8.30pm, Fridays at the same time and Saturday mornings from 9.30 to 11.30. The classes are free and will be given near Sant Francesc's sa Tanca Vella chapel in a space called l'Hort Infantil (“children's vegetable garden”). Children are asked to come wearing comfortable clothing and shoes. Students will receive telephone confirmation of acceptance from the CiF's Office of Agriculture once the signups period is over. An additional list will be created for children who prefer other possible dates to take the course.

Formentera lends hand to local livestock farmers feeling drought's burn

Ajudes ramadersBartomeu Escandell, councillor of the Formentera Council's Office of Rural Affairs, has announced that his department will give out 936 forty-kilo feedsacks to the island's stockbreeders “to offset the effects of the drought that has afflicted Formentera this year”.

The assistance will go to the 102 livestock farmers that compose the Formentera Stockbreeders' Association and have obtained their renewed 2016 trade cards. Distribution of the packs began last week. The process is overseen by the Formentera Farmers' Co-operative, which is contacting recipients to schedule drop-offs.

Formentera farmers have registered a total of 1,048 animals, for a total that includes goats, sheep and 115 pigs. This is the third time the Formentera Council distributes the aid — a bid to help farmers deal with the drought that has beset the island in recent years.

Council turns farming equipment over to Farmers' Co-op

Maquinaria cooperativaFormentera Council (CiF) president Jaume Ferrer and Jaume Escandell, president of the Farmers' Co-operative (Cooperativa del Camp), signed an agreement today making official the lease of farming equipment for use by the Co-op. Purchased by the administration, the farmers' group will use the stock of industrial tools and machinery to “push forward with the farmland reserve project and still other initiatives aimed at reviving Formentera's farming sector,” explained the CiF president, who said the equipment would also help boost “other efforts to improve the quality of our natural landscapes here on the island.”

Specifically, the Council will allow the Co-op use of an electric forklift, a hand pallet truck,  an electric pallet truck weigher, a tractor, a loader shovel, a seeder, a two-row super chisel, a rotavator, a reversible plow, a mower, a fertiliser, a suspended hydraulic sprayer, a trailer, a rectangular baler, a grain harvester and a cropper trailer. The lease is valid through the end of this year and can be extended. The total value of the equipment surpasses 320,000 euros.

The chair of the Farmers' Co-op, Carlos Marí, was also present at the signing of the pact. He called the Council's decision to lend the machinery “monumental for the Co-operative in terms of the autonomy it will give us”. Till now, the Co-operative has contracted out work on its farmland reserve project to third-party farmers. From today, the group will be able to take charge directly of such efforts. Marí pointed out that the Co-op could also begin using equipment like the tractor and harvester to help its own members and other interested individuals. The equipment will mainly be used to work the 150 hectares of land that comprise the local farmland reserve so far.

Can Marroig sees return to traditional farming

Foto signatura conveniEarlier today in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council (CiF), administration president Jaume Ferrer met with Vicenç Vidal, regional environment minister of the Govern Balear and president of Institut Balear de la Natura (IBANAT), to sign off on an agreement giving Formentera use rights over a stretch of public land in Can Marroig. Ownership of the parcel is held by IBANAT. Also present at the signing were CiF councillor of rural affairs Bartomeu Escandell and IBANAT chair Ramón Villalonga.

The goal of the five-year renewable agreement is to give the land an agricultural use. President Ferrer voiced his hope that stewardship of the parcel go to the Formentera Farmers' Co-operative. The president said control of the 12-hectare plot had for some time been the object of petitions by the Formentera Council. The land will be worked and maintained using environmentally-friendly methods.

Govern Balear minister Vidal called the renewed agricultural use of the land a milestone and underscored the importance of conserving Formentera's biodiversity. He celebrated it as “the first case we've had of public land being given this kind of productive use.” Care of the parcel will be incorporated into the Farmland Reserve project of the Formentera Farmers' Co-operative. The land-use revival project was launched in March 2015 and today includes a register of 140 hectares. Through its support of the Farmers' Co-op and initiatives like the Farmland Reserve, the Council invests in the renewal of Formentera's primary sector and protecting the island's natural beauty.

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