Organisation Requesting Funding
GOB (Grupo Balear de Ornitología y Defensa de la Naturaleza) is a non-profit environmental association, running since 1973. In 1977 a sector was created with a specific focus on Menorca, and it currently has 1,400 members. GOB has led in both social and environmental conservation on the island for many years.
Its main objective is to help achieve a sustainable economy, which requires human activities and environmental values to coincide. One of its lines of action is the Custodia Agraria programme, initiated in response to the need to achieve an agricultural model which makes economic activity compatible with the preservation of the island’s environment and biodiversity. Within the last few decades, this has become a pressing necessity due to the growth in agricultural activity, abandonment of the countryside and speculation.
Area of Interest
Conservation of landscape and support for local produce.
Summary of the Project
The Menorcan agricultural sector is facing a complicated situation as market conditions have changed faster than its production model (currently very much oriented towards livestock farming for the production of milk and industrial cheese) meaning that the industry’s financial sustainability is uncertain.
Additionally, the island is facing environmental problems caused by the increasing intensification of many farms which, in the quest for economic survival, are depleting soil fertility, using large quantities of pesticides, irrigating large fields with aquifer water to produce animal fodder and spread chemical fertiliser on the land, some of which leaches into the aquifer itself in the form of nitrates.
The Custodia Agraria programme aims to accompany landowners and agricultural managers in their search for economic viability by generating differentiated products that are highly compatible with the natural values of the environment. This approach makes it possible to add value that facilitates short-cycle marketing, better prices for producers and consumers, and at the same time improves the environmental conditions of surrounding areas.
This project is the result of a survey carried out on the network of farms with a Custodia Agraria agreement, in order to identify expectations and difficulties from the farm’s perspective, as well as a questionnaire to identify specific measures to be applied. From this, actions to be funded and carried out have been defined.
To improve economic viability and environmental compatibility of Custodia Agraria farms.
Overall Project Objectives
- To encourage diversification of available produce on each farm (funded by Menorca Preservation)
- To experiment with soil regenerative practices.
- To facilitate livestock management strategies.
- To apply environmental methods for pest control.
Description of Planned Activities
a) Diversification of productive trees
Productive trees make it possible to combine a range of produce on the same land and at the same time provide a type of product that is in short supply on the local market in Menorca, including all types of fruit.
GOB collects the demands of the farms and coordinates the purchase. The farms carry out the sowing and maintenance.
b) Diversification of honey production
Beehives are installed in a number of farms, in a proportional manner to avoid affecting natural pollinators. This allows farmers to generate a product of high nutritional value from areas that are generally not very productive.