FUNDS TO HELP PRODUCE FROM NATURAL PARK FIND NEW OUTLET

TOURIST tax money is to be used to finance a food processing centre and improve the municipal abbatoir to handle the output of farms in the Llevant Natural Park (Artà). This was announced by Balearic agriculture minister Mateu Morro, who yesterday visited the Sant Salvador farmers' cooperative of Artà, to see the result of repairs to their headquarters, damaged during the November 2001 storms. He said that the two projects would receive 300'000 euros from the tax money. He also told the farmers that the cooperative could be eligible for aid under the European Union Leader + programme, which provides funds for promoting and marketing local products. The cooperative wants to set up an agrobotiga, a shop which would specialise in products bearing the Balearic Product label, organic products and the produce of cooperative members. They also want to market products from the farms which are within the area of the Natural Park, which would have a label to indicate their origin. This, say the farmers, would make the product more attractive. The Artà cooperative now has 189 members. Its manager, Antonia Guiscafre, said “there is a huge demand for these products, because people are demanding more quality and are not interested in food which has been treated with chemical products." The agrobotiga, the food processing centre and the abbatoir are part of a global plan to revitalise the farming and livestock sector and offer a new outlet to the owners of farms in the Natural Park. The processing plant would be built on the outskirts of Artà. Mayor Montserrat Santandreu said yesterday that it has to be easily accessible, adding that several possible sites were being studied. Jams, honey and other products would be made there. The abbatoir would service the entire region and would be brought up to European Union standards.

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