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NEIKER continues to promote organic farming and shows its progress in the traditional field visit in Arkaute

  • In the second annual visit to its experimental trials of organic crops at its center in Arkaute (Alava) NEIKER has presented results in wheat, oats for flakes, pumpkin on paper mulch, red beets or edamame
  • The two field trips are in spring and autumn, respectively, and have become an opportunity for networking between the different actors in the organic farming sector

In recent years, organic production continues to add hectares of land in the Basque Country, thanks, among other things, to the growing consumer demand for more sustainable and healthy food and the joint efforts of producers and institutions. This is confirmed by data from the Council of Agriculture and Organic Food of Euskadi (Ekolurra) showing that in the past year 2021 the area devoted to organic farming increased by 16% over 2020 from 6,789 hectares to 7,905.

In order to continue the expansion of this type of cultivation, research into new variables capable of meeting the current challenges is essential. In this context, one more year, the plots that the technology center NEIKER, a member of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA), has in Arkaute (Alava) have again demonstrated the current and future potential of organic agriculture in our territory.

During the visit, the latest developments of NEIKER trials with summer crops, the results of the trials of previous seasons, as well as proposals for future trials have been presented. The main actors of the agricultural sector have had the opportunity to meet at the center’s facilities for the traditional visit to the plots where NEIKER carries out its experimental trials of organic crops.

Specifically, NEIKER has presented some of the results of organic production trials conducted to date both in cereals -wheat, oats for flakes- and in extensive horticultural species -pumpkin on paper mulch, red beet, sweet corn or edamame, which as explained Roberto Ruiz de Arcaute, researcher at the Department of Plant Production and Protection of NEIKER during the event, “has a high nutritional level”. Likewise, it has also shown the results of its trials on meadow phosphoric fertilization, an initiative carried out in collaboration with the company specialized in biofertilization, Fertinagro Biotech.

After the presentation of these works, the day continued with the traditional visit to the organic experimental fields that the center has in its Arkaute farm: a total of eight hectares where they are carried out from tests of organic crop varieties such as soybeans for human consumption, to research into new crops such as Crotalaria Juncea L., ‘fashionable’ plant whose cultivation is interspersed prior to planting cereal and that increases the porosity and aeration of the soil, its water retention capacity and, therefore, its fertility.

The open days for the sample of tests carried out by NEIKER are held twice a year, in spring and autumn, respectively, and have become an opportunity for networking between the different actors in the organic farming sector.

Organic farming, very topical

One of the levers of growth of organic production in the Basque Country is the Plan for the Promotion of Organic Production (FOPE), created to encourage organic production in the Basque Country and meet the growing demand of society for organic products. As a result of the efforts of producers and institutions, organic crops are gradually adding more hectares of land in the Basque Country.

As remarked during his presentation Ruiz de Arkaute, “such trials are essential to meet the main challenges of FOPE: to help the agricultural sector to increase organic production, develop the processing and marketing chain, and at the same time strengthen the demand for local organic produce.

This field work is part of the Plan for the Promotion of Organic Production (FOPE), promoted by the Basque Government and energized by NEIKER and Euskadi Organic Agriculture and Food Council (Ekolurra).