The Rio Minho is moving towards sustainability thanks to innovative projects such as fertilizers from bagasse and energy efficiency

The Observatory of Cross-border Dynamics of Río Minho, promoted by the EGTC Rio Minho, presented today at the Multipurpose Social Center of O Rosal the report “Sustainability and Green Economy”, an analysis focused on the environmental challenges faced by the economy of the cross-border territory, such as are climate change or water scarcity, and the need to take urgent measures such as the implementation of sustainable economic paradigms capable of dealing with these problems. Almost thirty economic agents from the territory participated in the meeting.

The scientific coordinator of the Observatory and professor at the University of Vigo, Xavier Martínez Cobas, was in charge of presenting the study, after which a debate was opened in which the president of the Asociación de Cultivos do Baixo Miño (Acubam) Mariví Álvarez participated, the responsible from the Raiz da Terra nursery José Augusto Martín, the technical director of the Terras Gauda winery Emilio Rodríguez Canas and the president of the Management of the Monção Regional Cooperative Winery Armando Fontainhas. The mayoress of O Rosal, Ánxela Fernández, opened the event and the mayoress of Tomiño, Sandra González, moderated the debate. The conclusions pointed to the need to take immediate measures and encourage respectful economies in the face of the challenges generated by the climate crisis, the degradation and scarcity of water and the loss of biodiversity, the main problems identified by the participants.

According to the professor at the University of Vigo in the field of natural resources, the report analyzes the activities of agriculture, livestock, hunting and related activities; forest exploitation and forestry activities; those of fishing and aquaculture; and the extraction of mineral products, noting that most of the resources are dedicated to agriculture, livestock, hunting and related activities. A good part of the activities is in the towns of the EGTC Rio Minho area and occupy a relevant role in the economy of the cross-border area. The second place is occupied by the companies dedicated to fishing, essentially located in the coastal areas of the EGTC Rio Minho and some more inland, linked to fishing in the river.

Relevance of forestry despite being the activity with the least weight in the territory

“Forestry -pointed out Xavier Martínez Cobas- is the least important activity in the territory, although the number of companies is also considerable. The forestry companies are the only ones that are growing in the territory, so it will possibly be an important factor of competitiveness in this territory in the future”, he stressed.

In this sense, he emphasized that the great challenge is to avoid fires and their effects, and in particular the effect of large fires, such as those experienced in 2017. “To this end, preventive forestry can be the greatest protection tool. The treatment of trees, the choice of species and the exploitation models, limiting the locations at critical points, are lines to follow”, he said.

Fertilizers from bagasse and solar panels for energy efficiency

On the other hand, the report also highlights that all the activities associated with the circular economy are increasing the number of companies in the territory (electricity, valorization and waste management) as a trend towards greater sustainability. In the case of viticulture and ornamental plants, the need to develop by-products compatible with the environment is highlighted, limiting the use of chemical components that damage biodiversity.

In this sense, the initiatives of important companies in the area were presented at the discussion table, such as the case of the Galician winery Terras Gauda, which is currently developing a project to convert bagasse into quality fertilizer and pesticide thanks to the ‘Vitalver’ study. On the Portuguese side, Adega Cooperativa Regional de Monçao also explained its energy efficiency project with the installation of solar panels, which allow working with less energy consumption and lower operating costs.

The workshop was developed in the scope of the Project ‘Support Network for local dynamics of cooperation in the cross-border Rio Minho’ (REDE_LAB_MINHO), co-financed by the Interreg Program V-A Spain Portugal (Activity 2 – Construction and dynamism of a cooperation network and observation of the dynamics cross-border).