FIRST TECHNICAL DAY DELTA RICE ORGANIC PROJECT
The production of organic rice in the Ebro delta is currently testimonial and does not reach even 1% of the cultivated area (150ha), despite the growing demand for organic rice by the consumer. Faced with this reality, the company of Deltebre Agroserveis.cat has signed an agreement with the University of Barcelona to promote the Organic Delta Rice project, which aims to establish the technical bases to promote the production of organic rice in the Delta . The project, which has the support of the sector -Cambra Arrossera del Montsià, Nomen Foods, Prodelta and the irrigators of the Left-, was presented this Wednesday in Amposta. "Across Europe, and also in Catalonia and Spain there is a growing demand for organic production and cooperatives in the territory are unable to supply organic rice because there are no farmers who produce it," says Alexandre Navarro, director executive of Agroserveis.Cat. This coincidence between market demand and the need of the rice industry to be able to offer organically produced rice, is what has given rise to the Organic Delta Rice project, which aims to develop an agronomic guide to produce organic rice in the Delta and to guarantee a technical base that gives “security” and “profitability” to the farmers who want to bet on the ecological production. Trials on a deltebre farm The first trials of the Organic Delta Rice project began last year on a 6.5-hectare farm - of 1.3 hectares - at the Finca de la Palma de Deltebre. Different trials are done to solve different issues like weed control and diseases like pyricullaria without the use of chemicals; which varieties of rice have a more stable production with this technique; or factors such as fertilization of fields or the use of fungicides are also analyzed. Tests are currently being carried out on the 7 varieties of round rice grown in the Delta and some of them have given good results in the first year of trials. "We think that the production of organic rice will be more profitable for farmers," says Navarro, who explains that, "although production will be lower, the price of rice will be higher and one part will offset the other." . Navarro is also convinced that organic production could be an "opportunity" for farmers who cultivate small areas of rice, as they will get higher yields per hectare. For the realization of the essays, the project has the collaboration of the companies of the phytosanitary ware sector and of development of seeds and fertilizers that in the frame of the project try different products and varieties that can be useful for the ecological production. As part of the presentation day of the Organic Delta Rice project, the first results of the tests and the next phases of the project, which will have an initial duration of three years, were announced.