ECO almond: The production of organic almond under intensive and high density models
ECO Almond is an IRTA-DARP demonstration project that aims to assess which productive models are more suited to organic production and therefore evaluate agronomic and productive behavior, in order to choose the most appropriate organic production model, looking for a more sustainable production and pesticide-free.
The aspect of economic profitability is based not only on the obtaining of an ecological almond with added value, but also to raise the production in two models in irrigation: intensive and high density, to obtain a high production but under the umbrella of organic farming.
The almond production sector in Catalonia has evolved a lot in recent years. Considered a traditional crop of dry land, to the current situation with irrigated crops, with varieties of late flowering and extra-late, intensive or super-intensive plantations, prices and consumption in growth, etc., the truth is that the Design and the current needs of almond farms have nothing to do with those of a few years ago.
That is why the sector needs new technical and management skills that are adapted to the new concepts of exploitation and this is where the demonstration projects that IRTA and the Department of Agriculture (DARP) are carrying out allow to be transferred the new technical knowledge in the sector in order to be able to solve the current needs.
The production of organic almond in irrigation has, at present, many questions: the choice of plant material, the management and control of pests and diseases, fertilization, etc. On the other hand, it has a very interesting market side, since in the United States, large producers produce soft-shelled almonds that suffer from the insect attack and, moreover, collects from the soil, where many times there are fungal and aflatoxin problems, which must be fumigated after collecting and pasteurizing it in certain cases, which is it will never be considered ecologically. Therefore, an interesting market for the export of organic almonds is opened in the United States as well as in other European countries.
On the last day of the almond, organized by IRTA in Les Borges Blanques on 29 and 30 May and hosted by more than 700 people, Marta Maldonado, IRTA technician, explained this demonstration project that currently is being made for the almond sector.