You and me, producers and consumers, hoteliers and small businesses, individuals and the public administration: reactivating agriculture in the Sóller Valley must involve s everyone.
In the survey last month, the people of Sóller said that they wanted healthy, local food and that they also wanted to protect the landscape of the valley.
We then hosted a round table debate entitled “How to reactivate agriculture in the Sóller Valley”, featuring a range of experts on the subject. Together, they told us about their experience and shared with us some ideas on what we could do in Sóller.
One one point, the speakers were unanimous: unless everybody participates (institutions, intermediaries, producers, small and large consumers) agriculture in Mallorca has no future.
They also stressed that it is not worth taking measures separately, but, rather, all measures must be deployed in conjunction. These include:
- Creating an ecological market in Sóller to raise awareness among consumers: individuals, public administration, hotels, restaurants . It is worth paying a little more to have healthy food and support local production.
- Organize a land bank through which matches land owners and people who want to work the land. In Sóller there’s a lot of abandoned farmland while in Mallorca there are young people who want to work the land but who do not have access to it.
- Undertake a census of fertile lands and protect their agricultural use through the legal concept known as Zava (area of high agricultural value) as laid out in the new Agrarian Law. It was pointed out that fertile lands have declined in Mallorca and the valley and that it is necessary to create a reserve of land for agriculture.
- The other legal concept promoted by the Agrarian Law is called Agrarian Park. This essentially reaffirms the agrarian use of a wider area than the so-called Zavas and foresees financial aid to reactivate agriculture. The experiences of Son Sardina and Palma are enlightening in this respect, and are inspired by the famous Agrarian Park of Baix Llobregat (Catalonia).
During the debate, the public pointed out that
- A lot of Sollerics would like to be able to buy local products, such as vegetables, and that there are stores in Sóller that would be interested in selling these foods.
- Vocational training in forestry and cooking is available at the high school could play an important role in this process of reactivating agriculture.
- The presence of unchecked numbers of goats, red spider mites, and blackbirds in certain areas of the valley have negatively affected crops and trees.
- The abandonment of the olive groves – gradually replaced by pines – increases the risk of fires. Environmental policies in the Serra Tramontana are also undermined if we do not monitor fires, especially in summer where visitors to the mountains make fires without respecting the rules.