Spain: La Palma betting on prickly pear cultivation

The Council of Agriculture of the Council of La Palma, in the Canary Islands, remains committed to boosting the cultivation of prickly pear. Consequently, it will maintain the 30 cent subsidy for each kilo of fruit marketed. "Our goal is to help the crop's growers produce more, as well as minimize the impact of the Mexican cochineal, which is practically impossible to eradicate on the island," said the island's councilor of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishing, Basilio Pérez.

"To qualify for this subsidy, the producer must own the farm or exploit it under a lease agreement or assignment," said Pérez. Another requirement is the submission of the corresponding invoice.

At present, the price at origin of prickly pears oscillates between 1.20 and 3.25 Euro per kilo.

Despite being an exotic, non-native fruit, the prickly pear is very popular in Canary cuisine and the demand for it in La Palma is very high. However, the abandonment of plantations and the appearance of the Mexican cochineal are putting their survival at stake.

The councillor stressed that prickly pears "could easily be produced in organic farming models because of how well they adapt to the environment. This gives them great added value."

The value of prickly pears has increased in recent years in the Canary Islands, as it is a healthy product with great nutritional and therapeutic properties.


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