The Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation promotes the new Farmers’ Network project to support farmers
The Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation promotes the Farmers’ Network, a new project to support vegetable and fruit producers, mainly from the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (Baix Llobregat, Vallès Oriental, Vallès Occidental, La Selva, Maresme, Pla de Bages and Alt Empordà) to encourage them to transform to organic farming and improve the economic and environmental sustainability of their farms.
Twenty-seven farms managed by 21 different producers (440 ha, 120 ha of which grow vegetables and fruits) already belong to the project and have already converted to organic farming or are in the conversion process.
It is worth noting that these 120 hectares of converted vegetables and fruit account for 20% of the total hectares of organic vegetables and fruit in those same counties until 2018. We should bear in mind that the usual size of an organic farm in Catalonia is 1-2 hectares.
This initiative seeks to increase the farmed area following the principles of organic farming, thus lowering the amount of synthetic and phytosanitary fertilisers used, which reach the water courses and impact the biodiversity. This positive impact translates into approximately 500 kg per hectare less in chemical fertilisers per year and up to 10 litres per hectare less in herbicides than in a conventional farm. Just among the farms that are part of the Network, it is equivalent to savings of 60 tonnes of fertilisers and 1,200 litres of herbicides per year.
The goal of the project is to support farmers in maintaining and improving farm landscapes in order to maintain the biodiversity near the most populous regions of the country. These improvements are made with small-scale interventions such as naturalising a pond with watering surpluses in the Maresme, which allows local flora and fauna species to be recovered in the region.