Dear guest, the Cooperative de La Palma de Carchuna (Motril) is a 46-year-old fruit and vegetable cooperative characterized by housing one of the most technified and productive greenhouse areas in Spain.
The roots of La Palma, as it is known locally, was found in a settlement town built in the late sixties in Carchuna, near Motril, within the framework of the Franco regime's hydraulic policy. There a town with a hundred houses was built, with its schools, crafts, a market and a church. The project transformed 630 hectares of almost desert land into irrigated fields through expensive hydraulic works and the provision of fertile land. The new settlers from the Alpujarra received a house and a one hectare plot of land.
The experiment soon ran into the difficulties of marketing the vegetables produced by farmers who had formed a cooperative in 1973. The system of sale through downward auctions in private markets left prices in the hands of the brokers and costs were hardly ever covered. The exploitations were soon unviable which led most to failure and abandonment of the cooperative.
In the early 1980s, a new steering comittee took a radical turn at the cooperative. There were only 13 farmers left with their families and they decided to request a loan of 15 million from the old pesetas to get the cooperative moving forward. During the eighties, the president of that time, Miguel del Pino Palomares, and Carmelo Salguero toured all of Europe exploring the possibilities of directly exporting their products. On these trips they discovered that in many European countries there was a very good market for cherry tomatoes. Step by step, a new cooperative model was set up based above all on the direct marketing of its products, specialization in varieties and continuous training of farmers.
The history of society is a story marked by effort, the cooperative spirit and the incorporation of new technologies.
The cooperative pays special attention to the healthiness of the products. The current president, Pedro Ruiz, has been one of the main promoters of organic farming. La Palma has thus promoted the use of predatory insects to replace phytosanitary products. The strict quality requirements of the German chains LIDL and ALDI have led to a high level of safety. All production is subject to a traceability control through a laser engraving that identifies the origin and route of all products to the consumer.
The cooperative is the 15th largest fruit and vegetable company in Spain. 90% of the production is destined for export, mainly to the United Kingdom (19%), Germany (19%), Scandinavia (17%), the Czech Republic (7%) and Switzerland (6%). There are a total of 3,500 families directly related to the productive and commercial activity of the company.
Dear guest, remember every time you taste a cherry tomato in your home country as most of you are from central or northern Europe. This product has probably been exported by La Palma cooperative.