Members of the StarTree Regional Stakeholder Group have been active in
October with meetings for stakeholders on pine nuts and
pistachios in Valladolid, Spain.
Forest and farmland owners visited demonstration plots and experiments of grafted stone pine and pistachio as alternative nut crops on 17 October. Organised by the Forest Owners Association of the province of Valladolid (ASFOVA) and the Regional Government Junta de Castilla y León, along with StarTree project partner INIA-CIFOR, the field trip incorporated a visit to plantations covering 50 hectares. The decreasing profitability of traditional farming and the high world market prices paid for these nuts make them an attractive opportunity for landowners.
Earlier this month around 200 pine cone pickers and representatives from the most relevant processing industries from Spain and Portugal gathered in the village of Pedrajas de San Esteban, a rural community where pine nut industry is one of the major sectors of local economy. The meeting, which took place on 1 October, was organised by INIA-CIFOR in collaboration with the Regional Government of Castile-Leon and the regional Forest Owners Association ASFOVA and members of the StarTree Regional Stakeholder Group.
Observations on annual pine cone production since 1996 include strong masting and a dramatically decreasing seed output in recent years. One of the main areas of research deals with pest damage caused by cone boring or sucking insects, especially the exotic Western Conifer Seed Bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis, that cause pre-harvest cone loss in trees and elevated percentages of empty seeds in the cones harvested. Stakeholders from the province, as well as representatives of the most relevant pine nut industries in Castilla-León, Andalusia, Catalonia and Portugal discussed the phenomena and the economic problem for the sector, as well as possible solution strategies.
StarTree, coordinated by EFI, will show how Multi-Purpose Trees (MPT) and Non Wood Forest Products (NWFP) can be used to strengthen and diversify economic activities in rural areas. StarTree brings together key research organisations and specialised SMEs working on MPT and NWFP throughout Europe relying on strong stakeholder engagement through case studies in 14 regions across Europe and in-depth case studies in 7 key areas.
StarTree is funded by the European Union through the European Commission's FP7 Cooperation Work Programme.
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