The Las Coronas farm is located in the town of Carmona, Seville, and covers two hundred hectares. Up to 2010, it grew cotton, wheat and oranges, until I decided to dedicate myself to aloe vera. The Aloe vera fields at that time barely reached 30 hectares in Andalusia.
To make my dream come true, I've harnessed my knowledge of agronomy gained while working. The experience of other aloe producers has also given me a great deal of background information, as has the choice to focus on an industry with major growth potential. At Las Coronas I have a sample garden of aloe varieties from all over the world, which I use to expand my knowledge and research about its cultivation. For example, we use irrigation management practices in order to optimise the resources available with the needs of the plant.
In addition to aloe, we grow lavender and lemon eucalyptus, from which we extract essential oils to sell various products. The arrangement of these crops is designed to favour the circulation of insects along what we call 'green motorways', which help us with the pollination of our crops and foster the farm's biodiversity. In the flowering season, the views of our 'motorways' are spectacular, with a kaleidoscope of colours across a landscape that we're also using for agritourism activities. Our farmhouse helps us with this, as we use it to offer guests an option to enjoy the most innovative and diverse rural world in the surroundings of Seville.
We also hold training courses on aloe cultivation at the farm, which makes us an international benchmark for this product. There's still lots to do and lots to research, though. I plan to create an international centre to welcome visitors and provide information on the cultivation and transformation of aloe vera. Anyway, time will tell!
Aloe vera plants only require two major important conditions: one is that the area is free from prolonged frosts and the other, and most important, is that the plots don't experience too much humidity, which is the plant's number one enemy. Hence, concerning water needs, the plants withstand dry periods very well. We irrigate them using a drip irrigation system only in the hottest season (normally from April to October), and we get the water from our natural marsh, which collects rainwater. The rest of the tasks are in line with organic farming practices: grass is cleared or pulled out manually; pesticides are not used; and all the fertilisers are organic.
Eleven of us work on the farm. My job is mainly focused on planning and managing tasks on the land. I leave the technical and sales side in the hands of the technicians and salespeople. All employees have working conditions adapted to their responsibilities, and in accordance with current collective agreements. We're committed to job stability, as I look for profiles in keeping with my philosophy. Otherwise, it would be extremely difficult to achieve our goals and produce a profitable, sustainable crop that is grown differently from others in the region.
Finally, the by-products obtained after handling the plant end up in the soil as part of the organic substrate that feeds our plants. This is the richness of the land: if you know how to manage it intelligently, everything you receive from nature has a use.