In Axarquía area east of Málaga experiments are now in large scale with various exotic plants to make new and more profitable crops
It is the Spanish Government Research “Experimental Station La Mayora de Algarrobo” located 40 km outside of Malaga, and a relatively large number of local farmers who are engaged in the project. One of the farmers is Eduardo Braum who were the first to cultivate mango in Europ. At that time he was considered mad – Today a total og 3,500 hectares of mango are producing over 20,000 tons annually in Spain. The statistics suggests that the production of mango this year will exceed avocado production.
Now experiments are being done with Lichi, longan, Moringa, Stevia, Pitaya and carom.
Lichi and Longan
At “La Mayora”, they have come very far in the experiments with Lichi and Longan are two genetically very closely related species. They are grown today in southern China and Vietnam, but there is great demand for these fruits the Asian population in Europe. Both species thrive in Axarquíaområdet but it is Longan is most productive and qualitatively safer to work with.
Pitaya and carambole
Studies are also underway with the tropical fruits Pitaya and Starfruit. Starfruit is an evergreen shrub that grows in Southeast Asia and its fruits are used in salad. Pitaya cacti belong to the family, it requires very little water and the production costs are low. It has large white flowers that open a night in the wild pollinated it off the bat – but this must be done manually.
Leovigild Martin is president of the association for the development of job-creating efforts in the Axarquia and has initiated the introduction of Stevia in the area. Stevia is a shrub which the leaves are up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, it requires no fertilizer and is suitable for diabetics. The bush provides four crops per year and is more profitable than tomatoes and peppers. It is grown today by dozens of local farmers.
Moringa is a tree that comes from South Asia and Africa, this is the latest addition to the flora. It grows well in arid and semi-arid areas and can withstand long periods of drought. The tree has many uses since all parts of the tree are edible, including bark and roots. This is expected to be the economically most interesting of all these exotic plants and even more profitable than Stevia.