We've called our organic farming project Alhambra Tropical, in homage to our history and to all the local farmers who have shaped today's agricultural culture in Granada. We're committed to their legacy, and we wanted our project to preserve these hallmarks.
Our plots of land are in the area of Puntalón (Motril). This is part of the Motril plain, which has a long agricultural tradition of cultivating sugar cane and other crops such as potatoes and beans. This highly fertile area first welcomed workers in the 1950s to farm the land. Many families from inland Spain, where resources were more scarce, migrated in search of job opportunities in our rich and prosperous land.
Today, there are farms that are highly specialised in all kinds of vegetables and tropical crops, as well as leaf crops (spinach, pointed cabbage, endive, onions, etc.). We've always specialised in the residue-free cultivation of cherry tomatoes, but now we've decided to diversify our activity with the production of organic papayas and dragon fruit.
Motril, our town, is a place with many job opportunities. We receive water from snowmelt coming from the Sierra Nevada, which forms a huge plain with excellent agricultural characteristics. There are many families that live off the land or work at companies related to agriculture in our town. What's more, we're home to one of the most important freight ports in our region.
The history of the farm is closely related to my partner. He, like me, wasn't a farmer, but we always dreamt of having our own plantations. First of all, we decided to educate ourselves about farming while gaining experience as workers at agricultural companies. Then, we devised a plan which involved risky investments, but allowed us to make our dream come true. We're entrepreneurs now and we do our best to do an excellent job at the forefront of the latest agricultural trends, all from a sustainability perspective.
The water for our farms comes from the Sierra Nevada, running along the Guadalfeo River to the Mediterranean Sea. There are two dams that store part of the flow, which is then used by various irrigation communities like ours. We use a drip irrigation system, which fully optimises all the water.
In our history as farmers, we've always used practices related to organic farming. We've managed to grow residue-free tomatoes, which isn't the easiest task as they're plants that are very vulnerable to pests and diseases. With the Alhambra Tropical project, we've taken a further step to certifying all tropical crop plantations under the EU standard for organic farming. On the whole, we still use no phytosanitary products, we remove grass with brush cutters, and we use biological control methods to prevent possible pests. On top of all this, we use the sun as an energy resource.
As for our collaborators, we know their needs at first hand as we were once employees of the same companies. That's why we like to be empathetic and attend to all the questions that our employees ask us, thereby making their lives easier. Of course, their salary is in accordance with the law, but they also receive incentives for production. However, the most important thing for us is the flexibility and trust that we offer them, as well as the strictest respect for their working hours. And if they work longer than they should, they get overtime. Nine employees work in our project, who have been with us from between three and fifteen years.
As for waste, papaya is a very versatile fruit that is given many uses. In our area there are several companies that produce by-products such as jams and juices, so anything that fails to meet our quality standards is allocated to these products.