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Edeka and WWF citrus project bears fruit

The citrus season has started and EDEKA is offering its oranges to the nation. The fruit was cultivated in an agricultural project in Andalusia. 

During the cultivation of these fruits the use of pesticides were significantly reduced, biodiversity was promoted and only the minimum amounts of water necessary were used. In addition to the pilot farm Iberesparragal, other farms are now taking part in the joint project of EDEKA and the World Wide Fund for Nature.


Sustainable: Edeka Sun kisses

The chemical burden of pesticides per hectare has already been reduced by 89 percent since 2015. In the fight against plant pests, the farms now rely on gentler methods: instead of chemicals, natural enemies are used. Think of employing ladybugs against aphids. As a result, occasional traces of these animals on the orange skins can not be ruled out. "These small blemishes on the skin do not affect the quality of the fruit. We think that the consumer will not mind a tiny mark here or there - certainly not when it means that the use of insecticides has been drastically reduced," says Silja Marschke, project manager at the WWF. Rolf Lange, Head of Corporate Communications at the EDEKA headquarters, adds: "With this project, we are showing ways to achieve more environmental compatibility in the cultivation of oranges. We are also setting an example by not killing huge numbers of insects unnecessarily."


Quality control before harvesting

For example, the number of ladybug species on pilot farm Iberesparragal has increased from seven initially to twelve and now fifteen. Other species also prove how successful a more environmentally friendly way of cultivation can be. This is because the farms, participating in the project, are deliberately planting hedges and green strips as well as creating nesting sites. This provides food and habitats for water dwellers such as the otter and for birds of prey, such as the black kite.


Each orange is picked by hand

In addition to the reduction of chemicals and creating more biodiversity, water resource management -which is particularly valuable in Andalusia- is another central theme of the project. The freshwater consumption of the project farms is analysed and reduced with the support of WWF Spain - for example through the use of soil probes and drip irrigation. A comprehensive concept, which takes into account the water situation of the entire region, has the objective of distributing water more equitably and using it in a more sustainable manner. This, in turn, helps to preserve Andalusia as a whole and in particular the Coto de Doņana National Park. This National Park is an important refuge for endangered animals such as the Iberian lynx and the Spanish imperial eagle and is an important resting place for migratory birds.
 

Control of the 'hidden values'

The EDEKA oranges, now available, will soon be followed by EDEKA mandarins. They will all carry the WWF Panda, referring to the joint project. Thus, customers will recognize that these are fruits grown through conventional but ecologically sustainable cultivation.

For more information and video footage visit www.edeka.de/orange
and www.edeka-verbund.de/projekt-zitrus

Source: EDEKA-Verbund / WWF Deutschland

Publication date: 11/10/2017


 


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