As part of our Kick-off meeting in October 2014, the Agri/Cultures project research team and advisors visited the farmer cooperative Joaquin Costa in Binefar.
During this visit we had the opportunity to talk with members of the cooperative about their organisation, their breeding programs in maize and their relationship to GMOs. We also had the opportunity to see some of the field trials taking place as well as the harvesting process.
Through our conversations it became clear what a significant role water plays in the decision-making of farmers, both in terms of the timing of their planting but also in the selection of their varieties. We also learned about how difficult and resource intensive it was to monitor for potential mixing between GM and non-GM crops and to maintain separation between them.
A surprising issue that got a lot of attention during the field trip was the apparent presence of Teosinte (the wild ancestor of maize, which is native to Latin America) in the fields of Spanish farmers and the difficulty farmers were having with its removal and control.
Our visit to the cooperative sparked significant media interest and many of the project’s researchers and advisors were interviewed for radio programs and newspapers during our visit.