The Algarve Sónia Brito, responsible for the SR Berry initiative, a project that was born in Lagoa and that wants to expand the capacity for the biological production of persimmons, won the 1st edition of the TalentA Program.
This is an initiative that aims to provide “training and financing for rural entrepreneurs”.
The program, launched by the Confederation of Farmers of Portugal (CAP) and by Corteva Agriscience, a leading company in the agricultural sector in seed technology under the trademark Pioneer, crop protection and digital agriculture, had more than 90 entries and the first award ended up going to an algarvia.
Sónia Brito has a degree in Civil Engineering and has invested in agriculture, taking advantage of heritage land and the climatic conditions of the Algarve region to develop the production of small red fruits for export.
«Right now, it produces blackberries, raspberries and persimmons. The objective is to increase the persimmon production capacity to meet market demand. The technology used by SR Berry in exploration is hydroponics – soilless culture. The organic substrate is composed of several 100% natural substances. The fruit produced at SR Berry is 100% natural and is certified by Global GAP and GRASP”, says the organization of the TalentA programme.
On the other hand, young entrepreneur Gilda Preto, 28, received one of the two finalist awards for her project to set up a Biotechnology laboratory for in vitro plant propagation and a greenhouse with an automated irrigation system, in Malhadas, Miranda do Douro.
And finally, Aline Domingues won another finalist award for her “Menina d'uva” wine project, which recovers old vines that are between 30 and 65 years old, located in the Vimioso region, for the production of organic wine.
Clara Serrano, leader of Corteva Agriscience of Southern Europe, highlighted the importance of supporting and training rural women for the development of the rural world.
“Women continue to face barriers in the agricultural sector. At Corteva, we know that the contribution of women is fundamental to guaranteeing the survival of the agricultural and livestock chain and we believe that training and financial support are the key to success in implementing any project. We are very satisfied with the results of the 1st edition of this program in Portugal, whose number of applications exceeded our expectations, and even the number of applications in Spain. Our mission is to continue to support rural women in this process so that they have the necessary impetus for their projects to be consolidated,” she said.
In turn, Luís Mira, secretary general of CAP, highlighted that «the TalentA program has made known the immense effort of women in investment and technological improvement in the agricultural sector».
«The winners represent a new wave of women farmers with higher education and who develop innovative projects, with great incorporation of technology and knowledge. This is the path to economic profitability, environmental sustainability and all the challenges that Europe faces in the European Ecological Pact,” he added.
The three winners will have access to a training program (e-commerce, social networks, business plan, commercial techniques, etc.) promoted by CAP to provide projects with more work tools and success metrics, and the winner of the first The award will also receive a financial support of 5 thousand euros for the implementation of its project.
In 2020, the TalentA program was recognized as an example of good practice by the European Parliament and the women's committee of COPA-COGECA.