Interview with CDTA Spain

1.- What is the CDTA? What legal figure? When it was created?

The CDTA was founded in 1991 and is a cooperative of the second degree formed by three cooperatives Hortamira, San Cayetano and Gregal, and associated with the Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives of Murcia (Fecoam). The CDTA is dedicated to testing new techniques and materials of the agricultural sector in its own facilities, through framework agreements with manufacturing companies.

2.- What is the main objective of the CDTA?

CDTA is a test farm where new technologies of the agricultural sector are examined with the aim of certifying that these technologies can be implemented in the agricultural holdings of the area, mainly in the partners of the three cooperatives. Its main objective is to demonstrate with these tests that an increase in productivity is possible, with an improvement in quality and an increase in the competitiveness of the associated companies. The intense relationship between the CDTA and the cooperative partners of the area, allows a rapid transfer of proven technologies and an effective application of the systems validated in the holdings of the partners.

The tests that are tested in the CDTA range from checking the behavior of new varieties in the area, varieties tolerant to viruses, varieties with less water needs … .. until innovative techniques of cultivation, integrated control of pests and diseases, rational use of water and nutrients, etc., always applying technologies that allow a greater control of the productive process, within the framework of a sustainable agriculture and respectful with the environment.

3.- Who are the owners? How many farming partners?

The Ministry of Agriculture of the Region, which transfers the management of the Center to the CDTA, which is managed by three cooperatives Hortamira, San Cayetano and Gregal. Between the three they currently have about 340 producing partners, they cultivate about 5,000 hectares with a production of approximately 195,000 tons. between fruit and vegetables

4.- How is the CDTA financed?

The facilities where EL CDTA sits are owned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Environment of the Region of Murcia and is financed with the fees of each partner, plus the income obtained from private companies that test their products in the facilities of the CDTA and when possible with regional and European Union aid.

5.- How and from whom does CDTA receive technical support?

The CDTA receives the support and advice of the technicians of the three cooperatives and the IMIDA (Murcian Institute for Agricultural Research and Development and Food), a public research organization, with the status of an autonomous body, whose priority objective is to provide the research needs demanded by the agricultural sector of the Region of Murcia.

6.- What benefits do the farmer members get with the CDTA?

Mainly that the advances proposed by the manufacturers are tested, tested on site, under real farming conditions, such as the type of soil and the climatology of the area, the way of cultivating, the water quality, the fertilizer regulations, the specific technical conditions for each usual crop in the area. With this, there are minimal differences between the tests and the reality so that the success of the fielding of all these technologies is a sure success.

7.- And the manufacturer?

The manufacturer starts with real working conditions, which allows him to verify and demonstrate in situ that his proposals are really beneficial and profitable for the farmer partner, obtaining immediate results since the prescription of his proposals is made from the first moment in the CDTA facilities, easily accessed by any cooperative. With this system, if the manufacturer demonstrates the effectiveness of its technical improvements, it has paved the way to be able to market its products to the members of the three cooperatives and in the future to the rest of the farmers in the area.

On the other hand the manufacturer can use the CDTA as a show room to invite their customers both nationally and internationally to inform them what they are doing in the center and how they can export it to other areas or countries.

8.- What are some clear examples of success of the CDTA?

The particular circumstances in which the CDTA is located, an area where the shortage of water resources is constant, means that one of its most important objectives in this center is the verification of irrigation systems that allow cooperative members to save the maximum amount of water in their crops. Currently it is being tested using a soil probe technology, all monitored via internet, the humidity control of the soil with probes at 15 cm and 30 cm that allow us to know the actual water needs of the crop and therefore optimize and save water in this area so deficit of this resource.

9.- What is the difference between a model developed in the laboratory and a model developed here at the CDTA?

In a laboratory and more in tests carried out in the field of agriculture, it is very difficult to obtain the actual conditions of a crop. When we transfer these practices to the facilities of the CDTA, if we are really working in the same conditions as a farmer in the area. Therefore, the results obtained are real.

10.- Technologically at what level are the CDTA’s own facilities?

We are at the forefront in the development of new technologies for the sustainable development of agricultural production systems and national and international benchmarks of private companies that need to demonstrate the excellence of their progress.

11.- What are the objectives of the CDTA for the coming years?

The optimization of resources that are the key to develop a sustainable, profitable and efficient agriculture of the future, with a clear social development and with the consequent creation of a wealth that generates a social well being to all the participants of this project and collaborating entities .

12. What are the most important issues to develop today in agriculture?

The development of technologies that allow the farmer to evolve to a totally sustainable agriculture and that these technologies allow us to have a zero impact on our physical and social environment.

13.- The CDTA model is exportable to other developing countries?

Perfectly exportable, always being clear that the model is based on the verification of novelties and agricultural advances, not in the research, for that are the manufacturers and provided that the work that is developed in those centers, is of interest to the farmers of the area and that is consistent with the type of crops practiced by the main actors “our farmers”.

This interview was made by Mario Nieto, a Business Developer and Connector of companies from Europe, Africa & Middle East.