Guaranteed free from genetic engineering and low pesticide use are just a few of the demands which domestic consumers place on their food these days. The demands for "more quality" are high. SPAR is therefore developing quality projects, created together with players in agriculture. More money for better quality is the current mantra within agriculture. At SPAR this has already been going on for years: For their voluntary participation in various quality projects, the SPAR farmers receive a purchase guarantee and a quality bonus.
900,000 euros for abstaining from pesticides
SPAR is pursuing a greener, pesticide-friendly route by growing its own apples under the proprietary SPAR brands. This benefits both the health of the consumer as well as that of the bees. Since 2010, therefore, pheromone traps have been set up in the apple plantations, working against apple and peel worms, which only attract the males of the harmful species. This prevents their reproduction and egg laying on the apples and thus any damage to the fruit by the larvae of the butterflies. Currently more than 170 farms use this method in Styria, which slashed 50% of codling moth pesticides. For this extra work and dedication, the SPAR apple farmers receive more money per kilo of apples each year. In total, SPAR spends around 900,000 euros per year.
SPAR pays premiums for healthy soils
The quality projects mentioned above are just three examples of SPAR's many collaborations with agriculture in terms of higher food quality.
There are also other similar initiatives, such as the project "Healthy Soils for Healthy Food" launched in 2015, together with some 70 flagship farmers and the WWF Austria. The participating farmers are using compost fertilizer, greener methods of tillage and the right crop rotation to build up valuable nutrients within the soil. Humus-rich soil can absorb and retain more water in a short time. Therefore soils like these are more productive and resistant to long periods of drought. Farmers participating in the SPAR Humus project receive attractive premiums or higher prices for their products for additional carbon sequestration in the soil, to compensate for the additional costs associated with consistent humus production.
Source: SPAR Österreich