The application of environmental and labour regulations, together with marketing problems, threatens the viability of small farms in the Guadalquivir valley in southern Spain.
Unsuccessful experiences in the past with cooperation / association have also left many local farmers resigned to a steady decline in the profitability and viability of their businesses.
In 2014 six small farmers set out to change this and took the initiative of coming together to a) identify the common technical and legal issues they faced on their farms and b) design a more agile, economic, autonomous and sustainable management model that responded to their needs.
The social innovation tool for the future of small farms
In October 2014 the Agrarian Transformation Society ‘Fraimon’ was created in the municipality of Peñaflor, near Seville, with the aim of being a technical, legal and social tool for guaranteeing a better future for small farmers in the region. In the 5 years since its formation this innovative initiative has stimulated much interest among many local farmers and more than 50 people have joined the Society. Most members are women and several come from neighboring municipalities where the same problem exists.
Despite some initial reluctance, local public administrations have also shown increasing interest in – and support for – the initiative and recognize it as an approach / model for rolling-out in other rural areas.
The achievements of the ‘Fraimon’ initiative have increased the confidence of the participants and opened new fields of cooperation such as: the management of inputs; integrating the network of service providers in the municipality, and; improving the production, quality and marketing of the oranges that are the main crop on most farms in the area.