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Argentina: Pecan nut plantations in Misiones grow

The Minister of Agriculture and Production, engineer Jose Luis Garay, visited the pecan nut plantations in the town of Apostles. Technicians and officials of the National Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA) and representatives of cooperatives that, with with the help of Food Production Programme (Proalimentos), had launched the pecan program in 2009, accompanied the minister during his tour.

Engineer Hector Barboza, undersecretary of Plant Production, stated that there were about 350 hectares and 45 farmers involved in the program started by the Ministry of Agriculture, the INTA and two cooperatives from the South.

Barboza praised the technicians of the INTA for their constant accompaniment and stated that, "the result is more than positive because one can see how the plants grew. The technical support helped us do things well, from land preparation, to the selection of the plants and varieties that should be used, good fertilization, and a good pruning the following year."

"The parties involved in the program decided to work together in order to avoid failures. This is a new activity, commercially unknown in this area so it was imperative to have technical support from experienced people," said Barboza.

During the tour, the technicians stated the plantations were in optimal conditions but that there was room for improvement in some areas. The pecan is a crop that adapts to the climate and that can be an alternative for the producers as it also adapts to different harvest periods, they emphasized.

After the tour, Barboza reiterated the importance of the market, both nationally and internationally. "It's interesting, there are good prospects, the producers of Argentina exported all of their production to North Africa, the US and China and so we have to keep working hard, in terms of production and management. Working together to market our product is essential. Besides, the first batches from 2009 are coming into production. They are flourishing, this will be their first season and it will be important," he said.

Last year, the plantations were affected by the unforeseen appearance of magpies, which were attracted to the fruit, "we must prevent the problems that might arise to ensure production," stated Barboza.

A powerful fruit
The pecan has significant advantages over the traditional nut, which are unknown to consumers. It has a nice sweet taste as 4 out of every 100 grams it contains are of sugar. Additionally, the pecan has the highest healthy nutritional qualities: it is cholesterol free, has a amount of protein and unsaturated fatty acids, phosphorus, calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and E, that act as antioxidants.

According to the INTA, the first plantings of pecan took place in 2009 and amounted to nearly 70 hectares between 15 producers. In 2010, there were 30 producers and about 180 hectares were planted. This year, there are 45 producers and 350 hectares.

Currently, mostly small producers, which have between two and ten hectares of crops, are engaged in the production of pecan. The implanted seedlings come from a nursery in Concordia, Entre Rios.

Source: Territorio

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