Within days of being posted online a petition aimed at halting the expansion of what is already Europe’s largest avocado monoculture has gathered over 1,000 signatures.
The next step, say organisers, is a public meeting in which “future steps” will be decided.
The bottom line of Terra Saudável’s ethos is to bring all interested parties together to come to “mutual understanding”.
As the petition explains the summer of 2017 brought the consequences of a 76-hectare monoculture in the rural countryside outside Barão de São João (Lagos) “into sharp focus.
“There was a drop in the prevalence of insects followed by a consequent fall in habitual birdlife which we believe to be related to the use of the herbicide which contains the controversial compound linked to cancer, glyphosate”.
In November last year environmental group Almargem entered the fray, stressing that the plantation fertilizes its growing trees with a product called Montana Sapec, a concentrated solution containing 360 gram/ litre of glyphosate (click here).
Property owners in the area are thus concerned that this substance will inevitably end up in underground aquifers on which all homes are dependent, as mains drainage does not reach them.
This has been the main thrust behind Terra Saudável’s conception, and will be a focus of next week’s meeting to be held at the DoJo Tai Ku An, Charneca da Corte, Barão de S. João (coordinates are available, telephone Carl Zimmerling on 919 718 955).
Meantime, the petition posted on Change.org can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/assembleia-municipal-de-lagos-no-to-giant-avocado-monocultures-yes-to-a-healthy-algarve-n%C3%A3o-%C3%A0-monocultura-de-abacates/nftexp/ex43/control/49090537. In less than a week since writing this story, signatures were up to over 2,245 and the red arrow was steadily rising.
Terra Saudável is planning to present its petition to Lagos Câmara, the town’s municipal assembly and the regional board of agriculture, all of which are involved in sanctioning any further expansion of the avocado plantation.