Onions & Jams – innovation for sustainability

Two Uruguayan farmer families, one common goal: to go from abusing their lands to the sustainable production of high quality products.

Both the Zunino and the Solari family have been working with agricultural institutes to improve their cultivation process. From the Institute of Agricultural and Livestock Research and the Agronomy School they received trainings and technical support to reduce the use of chemicals but increase their production, and participated as pilot farms for research projects. The result: the Zunino’s have increased their production with 250% and the Solari’s grew from local fruit produce to the international market and a factory with over 40 types of liquors, jams, mushrooms and pickles!

From ox plough to rotation farming

What I like about the Zunino story is that in 80 years, they went from a traditional farm working with ox ploughs to a modern farming system, rotating their onion and garlic cultivation with pastures. Although innovating and changing your farming system can seem such a difficult and brave step but their story shows how worthwhile it is to take this step! Apart from of course the increase of their production, I like the different attitude of the son: that it is important to use your land in a sustainable way to produce healthy crops.

Susana Solari adds to that. Yes, she has grown from a local fruit farmer to a national selling jam factory (grandmother’s recipe!), but she also used her success to motivate other (female) farmers and support the Slow Food movement.

These stories show the importance of cooperative projects between local farmers and agricultural institutions. Therefore, I really hope that during this 2nd GCARD the need good dialogues between stakeholders will be addressed!

Blog post by Machteld Schoolenberg

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