Portuguese-Spanish cross-border project aims to encourage innovation in the agricultural sector

Create a network, close to the border between Spain and Portugal, that will boost innovation in the agrarian sector: agriculture, livestock and forestry

Innovation in the Portuguese-Spanish cross-border agricultural sector is the main objective of the RAIA project, which is promoting the first of six presentation meetings on Wednesday, at Quinta da Fornalha, in Castro Marim, said the Portuguese coordination.

Fernanda Silva, from the Mértola Heritage Defense Association (ADPM), which coordinates the activity, said that the project began last July and carried out work over these months to prepare the meetings, which will always include a visit component an example of agricultural innovation.

“These meetings serve as a great first way to invite people [to participate] and they all involve visiting an innovative agricultural experience. This first one has to do, in Castro Marim, with a biological company that works hard on issues of soil regeneration and water use”, said Fernanda Silva.

The official explained that meetings will also be held in other points close to the border, such as Cartaya (Spain), on Monday, where participants will have contact with a company with “great innovation in terms of the use of citrus waste”, or in Santa Bárbara de Casas (Spain), on March 06, where there is a company with “15.000 sheep, which makes cheese and has great innovation in terms of sustainability”.

The issues “grazing and the fight against desertification of cork oak forests” will be analyzed in Mértola (Beja), on March 08th, and the meetings end on the 12th, in Serpa (Beja), where there is “a network of organic producers” nearby on the other “which is also working in Spain, but with their backs turned”, which “doesn’t make sense” because “they must work together”, he considered.

Fernanda Silva said that the recipients of these meetings are farmers, companies, cooperatives, associations, but also municipal councils and Local Action Groups (GAL) that work in rural development, allowing the “valuation” of the networks that these groups already manage.

Angel Blázquez Carrasco, from the agrarian management agency of the Consejeria de Agricultura of the Junta de Andalucía, is general coordinator of RAIA and told Lusa that the project is financed with around one million euros by the Portugal-Spain Cross-Border Cooperation Program (POCTEP ), with completion scheduled for December 2025.

“The idea of ​​the project is to create a network, close to the border between Spain and Portugal, in the border area, that will boost innovation in the agrarian sector: agriculture, livestock and forestry”, he defined.

Angel Blázquez said that this work will be done either through these “first meetings with the entire agricultural sector”, or through other “larger” meetings, in March, April and May, in which “the needs and priorities ” to promote innovation in the area that covers the border between the Algarve, Alentejo and the Spanish region of Andalusia.

“Based on these needs and priorities, we will create an action plan and seek to adjust it to the different sources of financing available, especially at European level”, he added, stressing that the project also focuses on the area of ​​“training” and “ sector-wide capacity building” to take advantage of opportunities and improve innovation in the cross-border area.

Project partners include the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR), the In-Loco Development Association, ADPM, Mértola Chamber and the Intermunicipal Community of Baixo Alentejo, on the Portuguese side, and the Agency for Management Agrarian of Andalusia, the Diputación de Huelva or the Ayuntamiento de Puebla de Gusman, on the Spanish side.

“At the end of these meetings we will produce a report with conclusions so that we can have a more detailed analysis of the main common problems, the differences, but also the solutions”, said Fernanda Silva.


– 21/02, 10am (local time) – WATER AND EROSION – Quinta da Fornalha – Castro Marim, Portugal
– 26/02, 11am (local time) – BIOCOAL FOR CITRUS FRUIT – PINARES – Cartaya, Spain
– 04/03, 11am (local time) – AGROFOOD NETWORK – Cortegana, Spain
– Day 06/03, 10:30 am (local time) – SHEEP CHEESE – Santa Bárbara de Casas, Spain
– Day 08/03, 10am (local time) – THE SHEPHERD AND DESERTIFICATION – Mértola, Portugal
– March 12, 03am (local time) – BIOLOGICAL NETWORKS – Serpa, Portugal