Cooperativas Agro-alimentarias de España and Cereales Alcamancha S.Coop. have reached an agreement whereby this cooperative will collaborate for the next two years with the 4CE-MED project to promote the adoption of camelina and conservation agriculture in the Alcarria area of Cuenca.
In this sense, the cooperative will organise, in collaboration with Cooperativas Agro-alimentarias de España, training sessions for its farmers on the agronomic aspects of camelina cultivation and conservation agriculture. These sessions will include visits during sowing and harvesting operations to three of the cooperative’s members’ farms where camelina will be grown for two consecutive seasons (2021/2022 and 2022/2023). On these farms, camelina will be grown both conventionally and following the principles of conservation agriculture (no tillage, maintenance of plant cover and diversification in the rotations), in order to be able to compare the advantages of the latter over conventional agriculture.
Dissemination days will also be organised to present the agronomic results of each campaign and to inform the project partners of the progress made in other trials and lines of research. These events will be important to gather the opinion of the producers, to know aspects of improvement and their concerns. Cereales Alcamancha will also participate in the meetings of the national 4CE-MED platform in Spain to share its experience with the rest of the cooperatives, research centres, government representatives and other organisations involved.
In this way, the aim is not only to provide the cooperatives and their farmers with profitable alternatives with which to diversify their crop rotations, but also to train them in the adoption of more environmentally sustainable cultivation practices, as demanded by the market and the new community strategies.
The 4CE-MED project, funded by the EU through the PRIMA programme (Horizon 2020), aims to identify socio-economic and technical barriers and opportunities for the adoption of conservation agriculture in the Mediterranean basin. To this end, in addition to the implementation of local platforms, camelina will be tested under real conditions as a commercial cover crop, adopting effective double cropping systems suitable for different environmental conditions. The aim is to reduce soil erosion, increase the availability of organic matter and water, diversify crop rotation and ensure short-term economic benefits for Mediterranean farmers. It involves 11 partners from 7 countries and is being led by the University of Bologna (UNIBO).