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Fresh crop of courses for farm hands in training

Taller dagricultura per a infantsThe Formentera Council's Office of Agriculture reports that this Tuesday, February 1, registration will open for a series of workshops pitched as “agriculture for kids”. Enrolment will stay open to the start of classes or until no space remains. Even still, the office will put together a wait list for any children not enrolled by the deadline.

The workshops will begin Saturday, February 17 and continue in June when schools break for summer holidays.

Tuned for youngsters and intended as a vector for environmental education and personal and social development, the activity is also being seen as a tool to promote young peoples' connection to rural and traditional settings as well as respect and defence of nature.

Two separate groups will meet for two hours each on Saturday mornings. Kids four to six will meet from 10.00am to 12 noon while seven- to eleven-year-olds will have class from 12 noon until 2.00pm.

The workshops, envisioned for groups of no more than 15, will be led by two instructors at the Hort dels nens (“children's garden”) near Sant Francesc's sa Tanca Vella landmark. Shoes and clothing worn should be both comfortable and appropriate, and children are urged to bring a bottle of water.

Environment councillor Bartomeu Escandell said the decision to bring the workshops back was due to their success in previous years. The idea, he explained, is to “see that our young ones are not only familiar with, but also can take pleasure in, the field work that constitutes such a deeply-entrenched aspect of island life”. He described his department's mission “to reactivate the local countryside” as “a task that is guaranteed to continue in future generations if we start young”.

Formentera offers six agriculture and livestock courses

Foto grup curs agriculturaThe Formentera Council's Office of Agriculture reports that this Friday, December 15, enrolment will begin for continuing education courses in produce and livestock farming for 2018. Classes begin January 15 with a supplemental course for professionals on the rudiments of pesticide. A total of six courses are available as part of this year's lifelong learning catalogue.

Department chair Bartomeu Escandell laid out his office's goal: “Assure a wide variety of courses and training opportunities, open to the public, for the island's farming and livestock sectors”. Such courses aim to meet the need for “specialised training in agriculture, livestock rearing and agrofood,” said Escandell.

This time around, with the focus trained on providing examples of success stories among enterprising individuals in rural communities, the Council hopes to offer inspiration for like-minded farmers. One course about “agrarian entrepreneurialism” is positioned as experience sharing about reclaiming and adapting the countryside. It will take place over three full-day sessions during which figures from big-name agricultural initiatives will share their experiences with participants.

Courses

1. Basic pesticides for professionals – Complentary (7 hours) January 15 and 16
2. Basic pesticides for professionals (25 hours) January 22 to 26
3. Managing large harvests. Alternatives in improving production and soil fertility. (10 hours) January 30 and 31
4. Agrarian entrepreneurialism: Experiences reclaiming and readapting the countryside (15 hours) February 9, 16 and 17
5. Earth-smart horticulture (10 hours) February 22 and 23
6. Detection and control of Xylella fastidiosa (5 hours) March 9

The classes, which are free and combine both theory and its practical application, last between 5 and 25 hours and will take place in Council buildings.

Part of the 2014-2020 rural development programme of the Balearic Islands, the continuing education initiative receives funding from the European Regional Development Fund, Spain's general public administrative service (AGE) and the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands (CAIB).

Anyone interested in signing up should visit the Citizen's Information Office in person from 9.00am to 2.00pm, do it online via OVAC, request info through the Formentera Council's Office of Agriculture by calling 971.32.10.87 extensions 3166 and 3165, or contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Enrolment will remain open as long as there is space available to ensure proper instruction.

Formentera unveils depot for farmers' co-operative

cooperativa 2Formentera's agrarian co-operative, Cooperativa del Camp, belatedly celebrated the July opening of the group's warehouse space this Saturday with considerable fanfare. The €590,000 construction project, coordinated by the Formentera Council, was financed in part by the Leader programme (23%) and in part by the Council (67%).

Among the event's 200 plus attendees were Cooperativa chairman Jaume Escandell and Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer, both of whom addressed the crowd. Another of the evening's guests, Pep de n'Andreu, in a traditional glosa, proclaimed: “Our task with the new co-operative is to continue cultivating the land, keeping it decent”.

The co-operative's managing director, Carles Marí, declared the night a success in terms of turnout and thanked “all those whose selfless collaboration had made it possible, particularly the gastronomical cooking staff and Formentera's own balladors,” referring to members of the the island's dance troupes.

Two-hundred twenty affiliated members
When the local farmers' co-op was reactivated in 2010, there were 52 names on the group's membership rolls. Today, the number is 220. The Co-op works in tandem with the Council on Fons de Terres, an initiative (roughly translated as “Farmland Reserve”) that involves stewardship of untilled local fields. With €90,000 in yearly funding from the administration, the programme aims to beautify rural landscapes. To date 70 local landowners have participated in Fons de Terres by turning over care of 200 hectares of farmland to the Cooperativa.

Renewed push to control red weevil spread

foto tractament becutThe Formentera Council's agriculture office wishes to inform island residents with palm trees at risk of infestation by the red palm weevil (rhynchophorus ferrugineus) that the adult pest's airborne activity spikes in October and November. The mature weevils set out from already heavily infested trees in search of new sources of food —healthy palm trees— to colonise.

The Formentera Council wishes to stress the importance of authorised, preventive phytosanitary treatments that can be applied in October, November and, subject to temperatures, December.

The Office of Agriculture has urged residents to avoid pruning at risk palm trees until temperatures cool, most likely in January and February, in order to capitalise on the weevil's period of relative inactivity.

Decree 04/2016 of January 29, 2016 (published January 30 in number 15 of the BOIB) designates control of this highly damaging pest as an issue of public interest.

For more information, contact the Formentera Council's Office of Agriculture.

Telephone: 971321087. Ext 3166

Formentera's farmers' market gets new look, more sales outlets

The Formentera Council's Office of Rural Affairs has announced a remodel of the island's farmers' market, the so-called Mercat Pagès. Changes will include wood furniture crafted by the growers themselves, new display cases and boxes to transport and store merchandise.

The number of vendors has also gone up—from two to three locally-based fruit and vegetable farmers. Plus, now for the first time, one grower offers organically-grown local fruit and vegetables. Additionally, signage in the building has been harmonised and prices are advertised prominently in an attempt to improve the experience of shoppers.

On a visit to the market, rural affairs councillor Bartomeu Escandell cheered what he called “high-quality fruit and vegetables” and the market's “increasingly important role on Formentera”. He also held it up as “a founding pillar” of the Council's bid to reactivate the Formentera countryside. The Mercat Pagès is located at Centre Antoni Tur “Gabrielet” in Sant Francesc and opens Monday to Saturday from 9.00am to 1.30pm.

Farmers' Co-operative retail outlet
The Farmers' Co-operative (Cooperativa del Camp) opened its members' sales location today with an inventory including fertilisers, grains, plant-protection products, animal feed, field tools and farming equipment. That location, at the Co-op's warehouse space in the Sant Francesc industrial park, opens Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 1.00am and 5.00 to 7.30pm.

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