At the beginning of September, the last goat raisers on the mountains grasslands of the Sierra de Gredos met with the FCQ to develop a mutually beneficial project. On the one hand, the aim is to increase the income of livestock farmers through the enhancement of their production and, on the other hand, the maintenance of the activity will contribute to the feeding of the bearded vulture: a win-win project.
In January of this year, the FCQ conducted intensive field work to identify the last extensive goat farmers using mountain pastures in Gredos. Barely fifteen were found, all of them on the southern slope.
The final report emphasized that, although they produced high quality meat and milk, this had hardly any return on their income, as their production was mixed with that of intensive livestock farming. In doing so, they lost all potential for added value,
One of the objectives of LIFE Pro Bearded Vulture is, precisely, to enhance the value of these productions to ensure the survival of mountain sheep and goat livestock, whose offspring serve as food for the bearded vultures. The objective is to replicate the Probiodiversity Brand model, developed by FCQ in Picos de Europa, to the other project areas.
After the initial studies carried out in Gredos, the conclusion was that in order to enhance the value of these productions, it was necessary to try to produce a mountain cheese.
To make progress, on September 6, the FCQ brought together the parties involved in Candeleda. On the one hand, the farmers, most of whom attended, the Cooperativa Ganaderos de Caprino de Candeleda and José Luis Martín, the best master cheese maker in Spain. A representative of the Diputación de Avila also attended. All of them are a main stakeholders for the success of the project.
FCQ explained the objective of the project and how it would work, and the other parties involved in the project explained how they would participate in the project. After a lively round of questions, in which the doubts that arose were addressed, the deadlines for starting the project were agreed upon.
The meeting ended with a visit to the cheese factory of the Cooperativa de Caprino de Candeleda and to farm Filemón Delgado Garro, to whom we are very grateful for his generosity along with his mother, Manuela.