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Spain: "Everyone wants to plant pistachio"
There is currently a pistachio fever. It is the most demanded nut in the world, with a price that continues to grow (7 Euro per kilo when freshly harvested; 10 Euro for the organic) and consumption is following the same trend, and this is being noticed in El Chaparrillo.
The agro-environmental research centre of Ciudad Real, a leading institution at national level in the experimentation and promotion of this crop of semi-desert climates that has adapted very well to Castile-La Mancha, which has sold 570,000 grafting buds; "an amazing figure," according to José Francisco Couceiro, head researcher of the crop, who last Friday gave a tour of the La Entresierra farm (where the crop's cultivation started back in 1986) to a hundred visitors from all over Spain.
Five courses with 90 students on average
Thirty years later, interest in the crop continues to grow. In summer alone, the centre has held five pistachio cultivation courses (with ninety students on average), and the team can hardly keep up with answering questions and clarifying doubts about the plant.
The reason for this, according to Couceiro, is the attention that pistachio is attracting, with a supply in the world market that remains below the demand, which is why prices have not stopped growing at the same rate as the production and consumption.
"Everyone wants to buy pistachio"
"Everyone wants to buy pistachio; it is the nut with the greatest demand in the world," affirms Couceiro, and a rising number of producers (and non-producers) are showing their interest in growing them and producing them.
"The pistachio is no longer that unknown crop that a neighbour planted and the rest called them crazy; now there are many people trying at all costs to obtain information about its cultivation to be able to start producing it."
Strangely, agricultural producers are the most reluctant. "Our visits and training days mostly attract people who want to invest; producers are the least common and the most difficult to convince," assures the researcher of El Chaparrillo.
The pistachio "is a crop that requires patience; otherwise, people would not consider it so interesting," he affirms. A pistachio tree does not bear fruit at least until the eighth year in rainfed farming, but when it does, the production amounts to an average of a thousand kilos per hectare.
At present, there is already the knowledge and the people who want to invest and cooperatives that are buying and processing the nut in Castile-La Mancha.
Publication date: 10/3/2017
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