Trees, often called the lungs of the earth, also provide food and ground cover for soil, the soul of the earth.
We work with biodiversity, including many species of trees to create a healthy and productive agroforestry system. Historically, producing trees on Mallorca include almond, olive, carob, citrus, and other fruit trees. In addition to these, we work with moringa, pistachio, avocado, and the highly productive and beneficial Pongamia Pinnata.
What is Pongamia Pinnata (a.k.a. Millettia Pinnata, Karanja, Indian Beech)?
Pongamia Pinnata is used in many countries for producing biodiesel, and it’s also a very restorative plant, with a lot of beneficial effects. It is a net Carbon sink, and also a Nitrogen fixer, restores the fertility of exhausted soil, and can be used in areas where salt water from the sea has infiltrated aquifers. Its oil also has medicinal effects, and it’s used in cosmetics and as an ecological pesticide in organic agriculture.
Oil from the beans can be used in biodiesel production, for increased self-reliance and off-grid model of farms, where the farmers could produce their own fuel at a much lower cost. Just as an example: one hectare can produce from 5000 to 10.000 litres biodiesel a year (double in intensive agriculture), enough for a car, a tractor, heating system and electricity of a regular farm.
In this project the trees will be planted on leased land or in partnership agreements with landowners. Leases are being negotiated for a minimum of 30 yrs. with first harvests after 5 yrs. and maturity after 10 yrs.
Seeds were imported to Mallorca and planted three years ago. The seeds have been grown organically in a greenhouse and now there are ca. 5.000 seedlings, between one meter and two meters high, healthy and ready to be planted in the field. The first goal was to prove that the tree could be adapted to the Majorcan climate, and this we now know that it works, as last year (2017) we had the first flowering. Now we have to start the production stage, once they are planted in the ground.
As a reference about 25,000 ha. with almond trees have been lost in the past few years because of the Xylella Fastidiosa bacteria infection, and farmers are very interested in new species. And Pongamia is not just bacteria resistant, but also a source for antibacterial bioherbicides. The local autonomous government (Govern Illes Balears) has set a goal to regenerate 6000 ha. /year with new trees.