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Local farmers encouraged to produce peanuts

One of the world’s largest food and beverage company’s, PepsiCo, are setting their sights on Portugal as the new European location for the main production of peanuts. Expressing their plans, PepsiCo said they are trying to encourage local Portuguese farmers to produce peanuts for the rest of Europe in order to reduce the dependency on importing from Asia and the Americas.

The project, entitled ‘Euronuts’, was recently presented to farmers and the media in Beja, in the Alentejo, by the company working in partnership with PepsiCo on the peanut project, Torriba.

Speaking to the Lusa news agency, Inês Vinagre of Torriba, said: “PepsiCo wants to become gradually self sufficient in the production of peanuts in Europe to reduce the degree of dependency from the traditional dried fruit nations in the Americas and Asia.”

To do this, she explained that self-sufficient farmers must begin producing large amount of peanuts as PepsiCo are actively looking for farming partners in Portugal to produce peanuts for the rest of Europe. PepsiCo hope that, by 2015, there will be at least 10,000 hectares of land in the region solely dedicated to the production of peanuts.

In particular, the company has highlighted the area of Alqueva in the Alentejo as a prime location production, due to its favourable landscapes.

With hopes of encouraging sceptical farmers to develop the peanut crop, PepsiCo have guaranteed that all peanut crops planted by farmers will be purchased.

Inês Vinagre explained that the ‘Euronuts’ project has already been through a practice run in other regions of the Alentejo and also in areas of the Ribatejo and the results have been described as “highly encouraging”.

All farmers have to do is simply harvest the peanuts and then PepsiCo will be responsible for peeling, toasting, packaging and then selling the snack peanuts produced in Portugal to the international market.

Farmers who have at least 20 hectares of land available for the peanut crops, and those who are willing to sign a 10 year contract with PepsiCo, will be given highest priority in the project.