It already has over 100 hectares; with 25 under conversion and ‘zero year’, and its next project is biodynamics
The leading fresh tomato cooperative in Europe has managed to double its number of bio hectares in this campaign, now having over 100. Currently, they have 50 registered associates, in addition to another 20 under conversion and ‘zero year’ that make up another 25 hectares.
The technical manager from CASI’s Ecological Department, Teresa Camacho, explains that it is “a very important project that the associates are embracing with enthusiasm. Every year more of us take on this awareness when cultivating and marketing natural, healthy and environmentally-friendly produce.”
Many producers included in the bio project are already working to take a step further towards biodynamics. Currently, 30 associates have studied the corresponding course and there are 4 farms in the process of obtaining ‘Demeter’ certification, with 6 hectares devoted to peppers and cherry tomatoes in Retamar (Almeria). This transition takes 2 years; therefore it will be fully certified in February, 2020. “We are convinced that this line is the way forward. Biodynamics is the philosophy that is most committed to the natural resources.”
Another of the new developments of CASI’s bio strategy is the installation of an area for ecological produce in the auction at Los Partidores; the first commitment of this type in the province. Since it was implemented, at the beginning of the campaign, it has boomed, which has allowed a gradual growth in the marketed volume. The significant acceptance by the bio vine tomato in cardboard packaging with the cooperative’s ecological brand, mainly on the national market, is worth mentioning. The person in charge of CASI’s Auctions, Diego Palenzuela, gives a positive valuation to this initiative. “Both the farmers and the buyers have accepted it well and we think that it will continue increasing during this season and over the next few years.”
CASI has a specialised centre for marketing ecological produce in San Isidro (Níjar), where they work with courgettes, vine and ‘Rebelión’ tomatoes, Dutch cucumbers, pear tomatoes, vine and loose cherry tomatoes, pear cherry tomatoes, California peppers and mini watermelons (in season). The installations include everything necessary for preparation and packaging.
Ángel Gutiérrez, Marketing Manager for Ecological Production, explains that “the line to follow is that of quality, safety and a job well done, in order to continue strengthening the our clients’ confidence, aimed at making CASI a reference in organic produce, just as it is for conventional materials.” The company has its own brand, Organic by CASI.