Alberto Calderon, Spain

Alberto Calderon, Spain


Here cotton is an important crop
shaping the local social character… because it’s closely linked to
family farming. These are small ventures… and thanks to the cotton farms, small villages have survived in the Guadalquivir
River Basin in Andalusia. This crop has made it possible for people to
remain on their land and live from farming… without having to flee to the city
to seek other employment. Integrated production is a form of
agricultural practice… in which production is slightly accelerated
without increasing to the maximum levels… reached by following conventional
agricultural practices. There are restrictions concerning the use of fertilizers
and regulations specifying active substances… that are respectful of wildlife and
beneficial to pollinators. There is a technician supporting… the farmers, who guides them on how to
manage the crop and apply chemical… treatments only as necessary to
prevent their misuse. Routine, calendar-based treatments aren’t
allowed and the maximum number of… treatments per crop is limited. There are many advantages of integrated
production: it costs the farmer less. 40% less chemical treatments are applied. Irrigation is also less and water is managed
better saving 30% of the water use. Fewer treatments are
done during the cycle. The accompanying
technician advises the farmer… when the field conditions indicate
that a treatment is actually required. In the past farmers did
routine, calendar-based treatments. Now with integrated production
insecticides are not used … unless a certain pest population level
has been reached. Even when such a level is reached, the technician advises the farmer
to consider all the variables of promoting the crop… especially keeping in mind that there are also
auxiliary insects that help control pests. This means it’s important to consider
the level of the auxiliary insects… when deciding whether or not
to apply a treatment. This has greatly reduced the
number of treatments used, from the previous six or seven to two, which
currently is the maximum that can be applied. This agricultural practice tries to take care of
these kinds of insects and observes them. Previously these auxiliary insects were
not recognized. But now they have been identified
and are valued. It is known that they are useful and… because of their beneficial qualities, active
substances are used that do not harm them. From an environmental point of view, this method guarantees more
respect of the environment. Also it’s introduced a new
flower… that helps increase beneficial wildlife. One of the main problems in
integrated production are… several kinds of lepidopterans
that attack and damage the crop seriously. Whereas previously broad-spectrum
insecticides were used, currently farmers have started using
insecticides as applied in organic farming, e.g., Bacillus thuringiensis bacterium. When applied properly and with the
supervision of an accompanying technician, pests can be moderately controlled. Not valued before, pests’ natural enemies… are considered now and
really help promote crop production. As everyone knows, pollinators are
essential for farming. Without pollinators
farming is not possible. We need to change the existing
model of farming and… only apply treatments that are respectful and protective
of such fauna. Without them farming would be impossible. We are working to go a step beyond
the integrated production approach… in order to grow cotton
without the use of any chemicals, or at least reduce the use of
chemicals to a minimum. We can do this by using
organic fertilizers… and treatments that respect
the natural enemies of pests. Yes, I do believe that it is
possible to reach the goal of… growing cotton without chemicals. I’d tell politicians that the farmer… and livestock farmer need a
fair price for their work and production. Also a reduction of
costs is needed. More and more the costs are going up,
while the cost of production is less. The money spent on
fertilizers is increasing. Of course, research
is essential to support… finding other alternatives
to the current industrial system. In other parts of the
world there are… other ways of doing farming that are
profitable and much more… beneficial for the planet, respectful
of the environment and less polluting.