This initiative is aimed at making berry producers aware of the importance of accident prevention at work and the fulfilling of good agricultural practices in the handling and use of plant protection products.
The project was started up by Freshuelva, AEPLA (Asociación Empresarial para la Protección de las Plantas/Business Association for Plant Protection) and the Andalusian Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fishing and Sustainable Development.
#RESPBerry arose to defend the fulfilment of the good agricultural practices throughout the entire process: from the purchase of the plant protection product to the management of the empty containers, following the instructions on the label at all times, which stipulate the official protection, hygiene and preventive steps. However, users do not always understand and comply with these preventive steps, in spite of the risks that not following them could entail for their health.
The first step that is going to be carried out in the #RESPBerry project, is the analysis of the initial situation, by carrying out surveys amongst the farmers, for which the production area in the Huelva province has been divided up into three differentiated zones: Almonte/Rocío, Cartaya/Lepe and Palos/Moguer; using statistics provided by the Regional Government Department.
In total, 45 surveys are going to be done, which are going to be carried out by technical consultants from the abovementioned areas, in such a way that the information provided by the farmers is as close to reality as possible.
At Freshuelva, the company’s manager, Rafael Domínguez, explained that “it is a project to help companies to continue moving along the path towards sustainability, and we are going to try to make it reach all the farmers from Huelva, just as the new campaign is starting because we want to continue putting a quality product on the markets, with all the health guarantees.”
Using the same methods as in other, similar projects, such as citrus fruits in the Community of Valencia, or in vineyards in La Rioja, the information gained from the surveys will determine the points where plant protection applications can be improved in terms of operator safety and in the correct calibration of the treatment machinery, which will prevent the contamination of water when plant protection products are applied, depending on the TOPPS project.
Promotional material will also be produced to be used by trainers, advisors and farmers while performing their daily work.