GuadiMonte, the first agricultural cooperative in Castro Marim, wants to reforest what burned in August

"Having civil society willing to be on the side of the policy of reversing the processes of desertification and depopulation is essential"

This is the landscape we want to rebuild

14 young farmers will form GuadiMonte, the first agricultural cooperative to be created in the municipality of Castro Marim. Its objective is “to reforest the soils burned in the August fire, but also to combat desertification and depopulation of the interior with a cohesive work that will range from agricultural production, passing through the entire value chain and ending with the creation of a territorial mark ».

According to the Castro Marim City Council, it is "the first entity to be created, of this nature, with this dimension and with these objectives."

After the formal constitution of GuadiMonte, which should take place by the end of this year, the presentation of candidacies for support, namely for the PRR (Recovery and Resilience Plan), follows, a path that had already been articulated in the meetings after the fire, between the injured municipalities (VRSA, Castro Marim and Tavira), the State Secretariat for Spatial Planning and Forestry, the Regional Directorate of Agriculture, the Portuguese Environmental Association (APA) and the Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation (ICNF).

The Chamber of Castro Marim recalls that "the territory of the interior of the Lower Guadiana is considered to be one of the most sensitive areas in Europe, classified by the United Nations as being at risk of desertification."

But the interior of the Algarve «is also struggling with depopulation and the interesting thing about the emergence of this project is also the fact that the founding cooperators have a connection to the land, being, for the most part, people who have returned to invest in what is the legacy of their relatives".

“Having civil society willing to be on the side of the policy of reversing the processes of desertification and depopulation is fundamental”, says the vice-president Filomena Sintra.

The mayor adds that, despite these are opportunities that were designed as a result of two misfortunes, the fire and the pandemic, it is important to concentrate efforts in order to make the best possible use of these funds to invest in what is the space and appreciation of a landscape and biodiversity, which is essential in the fight against climate change. «Without life in the mountains, there will be no life on the coast» he concludes.

«It is hoped that GuadiMonte, in addition to the conversion of the burned landscape, even one that has no productive potential, will be able to promote its and new agricultural projects and activities related to the sector», stresses the Chamber.

In addition to the support of the Municipality of Castro Marim, the group counts on the support of «various institutional players in the plan for the dynamization of the Cooperative, namely with regard to water management, in which the APA was available to authorize water supply systems. of water, either by abstraction or by retention'. "Without that, it would not be possible to dream of such an ambitious project, with so many hectares to reforest", emphasizes the municipality.