The first seminar of the training day "Business alternatives for the rural environment: organic agriculture and profitability" concluded yesterday in Sariñena. These sessions are organized by the Centro de Desarrollo de Los Monegros, through the Project Leader of the European Union, with the assistance of the Laguna de Asesoría Sariñena, the Association of Producers of organic food in Los Monegros, Monegros Dorondón, the Government of Aragon and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
On November 8th and 9th, there was the first of the seminars listed, dedicated to "focus on corporate irrigation agriculture and organic sheep farm". During this time, there were two lectures on "The business of the primary vegetables", by the organic farmer entrepreneur Felix Ballarín and "Production and marketing of sheep", made by the farmer employer Espuñet Doménech,
The seminar continued yesterday with a visit to the farm irrigation worker Félix Ballarín in Sariñena, where also the president of Dorondón Monegros, talked the main strategies of organic production. Felix Ballarín is organic vegetable farmer who sells directly to consumers. "What we have managed to stay within this system is the added value and a frequent flyer who personally know the producer. Please be advised of the product itself, make visits to farms and this gives a much closer relationship", explained Ballarín.
During the presentations, participants raised questions on specific topics such as registering as organic. "To make the transition to organic farmers often do not know where to start, you should dial as the guidelines go first to the Committee on Organic Agriculture of Aragon, to make a registration, and insisted that I have fairly clear what they want to do, and from there to ask people who are tucked in farming, because the rest is just red tape," said the president of Dorondón Monegros.
Ballarín added that "in relation to Alfalfa, there is a concern because it is a culture that allows you to three years of this period of transition until it is certified as organic. It is a culture which itself is organic, you can do without pesticides, is very fast, no problems and there are enough acres, could be an embryo of a group of farmers who come together on this and plan for growing such a market as a whole.”
“These days, in which there are 58 people registered, we can detect on the ground, people living on agriculture or livestock, not as a second job, but as a work that works, it is profitable and makes a living from it, and these people are the examples to follow," said the farmer. After lunch, there was a participatory workshop, which was moderated by the head of the Los Monegros Sustainability Territorial Development Center, Estrella Bernal.
Conclusions of the first days
From participatory workshop, the initial conclusions of the conference derive, which becomes evident, first, the need for a network of information and training to support farmers at all levels: from the technical to structural.
Precisely, Bernal stressed that this was the main objective of the conference, something that has already been set as of this first workshop and is intended to be consolidated. Joining and being a support network was the target of this initiative and this conference is the beginning. For Bernal, the assessment is very positive so far by the high quality and high degree of involvement, and that "farmers and ranchers attendees are professionals committed to the use of their time in training and are eager to connect and associate, so it is the positive content of the workshop, you will not be in the theoretical and abstract."
Other requirements that are reflected in the conclusions of this first workshop are technical training and commercial support for the use of new information, awareness and seek direct relationships between producer and consumer, and from a social aspect, reconciling work and family life and quality of life.
And potential is valued proximity seen as positive and the satisfaction and pride in this project as well as the next generation, job creation, diversity of crops and access to quality products, among others aspects.
On November 15th and 16th, the second seminar will be held, which this time will be devoted to the organic sector in upland and alternatives for the sheep. It includes lectures from Dr. agronomist and researcher at the CITA of the DGA, Ignacio Delgado, who will speak on "Alternatives to rainfed cereal fodder for sheep." In turn, the organic farmer Antonio Artal presents the aspects of production, processing and market channels from the experience of his company Ecolécera.
The third seminar will be held from 22nd to 23rd November and will revolve around the cultivation and marketing of aromatic and medicinal plants. Agronomic engineer and research pilot farms of the DGA, Eloisa Langa, will speak on "Conditions of the best soil for growing medicinal", the organic farmer Rafael Palacios will on "Introduction to the cultivation and marketing of medicinal and aromatic plants" CITA and the technical specialist and Jesús Burillo introduce the development of aromatic the market. These lectures will be supplemented on the last day with visits to farms and workshops.
The registration period is open throughout the development of the conference and interested parties may sign up for a seminar on time or at all comprehensive. The price for each seminar, two days is 20 euros.