Andreu Vila is an Agronomist and Master in Organic Farming. Technical Responsible in the Asociación de Defensa de Frutales del Baix Llobregat for 12 years. Founding partner of Can Perol Baix Llobregat. Freelance consultant and individual trainer devoted to agroecology for 4 years. Currently, he works as a freelance and advisor and trainer in the Cooperativa Asesoramiento Arreu S.C.C.P. He was a lecturer in Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña in the Escuela Superior de Agricultura de Barcelona from 2007 to 2016. Member of the Editorial Board in the divulgative magazice “La Fertilidad de la Tierra”, specialises in Organic Forestry.
He collaborates with us in our seminars to disseminate organic farming and we have been discussing the basic lines to follow in order to start the process of organic fruit production.
In your view, What are the main tips that must be followed by a producer willing to start growing organic fruit?
The first advice would be to be open-minded and patient. Any relevant change in farming involves some risks and, above all, an adaptation process from farms and producers.
In the second place I recommend to meet an experience organic producer managing a similar production to the one we aim to. Having a guide to where we want to go is, in my opinion, really important.
Finally, not being willing to follow a lot of different opinions (everybody gives theirs), allowing to be advised by a reliable producer or teechnician for a while. If everything goes well, go ahead; if it doesn’t, change it. It is essential to trust and to follow work directions rather than to work by force of advice coming from different places.
How are pests deal with in organic farming?
By an integral vision. First of all, you must focus on ground fertility, water management and creating a good farm background. From there on, searching for strategies allowing us to live together with key pest(s)/illness(es) of our crops.
May there be some contradiction in the use of certain products in organic farming?
“Total coherence is the paradise to narrow minds”, exactly the contrary to my first recommendation: being open-minded. It is impossible not to have contradictions, they are everywhere. In the end, there must be regulations to provide consumers and society with a minimal guarante. From there on, everyone must find their own management frame.
Up to which extent is it relevan to recover a lot of fruit varieties?
Recovering local varieties is always essential. In my view, it doesn’t have so much to do with the interest which may be shown in one variety or other, (which is also relevant), but owing to the need of being as rich as possible in terms of genetical diversity. Present and future challenges will greatly depend on vegetal material’s resilience: the wider diversity, the more chances to have available varieties matching our needs. For example, nowadays, a lot of modern apple varieties resistant to apple scab have a parental (genetic) origin with traditional or wild varieties having the gene of resistance to this illness.