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Interviews

Fátima Torres | Quinta Seis Marias

Forty-six-year-old Fátima Torres is an organic farmer at Quinta Seis Marias. This year, she is celebrating its 10th anniversary with her four employees and one trainee; the farm stands on six hectares of land in Sargaçal near Lagos. ECO123 visited her and interviewed her there. After studying business administration, you should really be managing a company in Lisbon. But you became a tax adviser and then a farmer. Why? When my father died, I took over the conventional farm and converted it to organic farming. I put my heart and soul into running it and I can’t count the hours …

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Clean energy in the state budget?

The party PAN (People Animals Nature) is the new political force in the Assembly of the Republic, something that hasn’t happened since 1999 when the Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc) won its first seats. Thirty-nine-year-old André Silva is PAN’s spokesman and sole deputy. Trained as a civil engineer, he is a vegetarian, lives in Lisbon and has a vegetable plot at home where he does composting; he does biodanza, dives, and aims for his party “to be part of the solution”. During his childhood in the home of his grandparents, who were farmers in Vilar de Besteiros in the municipality …

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“Gas will replace oil”

“Gas and oil exploration in Portugal will continue,” Luís Guerreiro, Director of Exploration and New Business at Partex, the Portuguese oil company owned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation which is part of the Repsol consortium, told ECO123. Since 2011, this consortium has invested some 58 million euros purely in prospecting and research. A total of 170 wells have already been drilled, around 40 in the sea in Portuguese waters, and, according to the ENMC (National Authority for Fuel Market) “since 1939, over 900 million euros has been spent on prospecting or scientific research without ever having found oil or natural …

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Tri4move, Electric vehicles for agriculture

EN Tri4move is a Tavira company that offers electric transport solutions. ECO123 spoke to Pedro Vaquinhas (41), the driving-force behind this idea. How did your project start? It was influenced by my travels. It was based on a need I felt when I had a company that produced red fruits. We needed a form of transport that was more dynamic for loading and unloading purposes, one that was, easier and quicker to manoeuvre. The tractor was very slow, polluting, difficult to manoeuvre and dirty; the wheels were always full of earth. And we decided to hire a three-wheeled motorbike. It …

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Heini and the Noah’s Ark

Heini Staudinger (62) is in charge of the GEA – Waldviertel factory, where he has been putting an ecological and sustainable economy model into practice since 1984. This alternative entrepreneur never trusted the banking systems, nor the global economy, and his investments have been made through private financing. Heini comes over as a kind of prophet, not a religious one but one of action, who regards his company as a Noah’s Ark in the current economic system. ECO123: Do you believe in an ecological economy? HS: Everything that is not working towards that is stupid. To believe in an economy that …

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“What we want to do in 2030, will be decided and planned in the next three or four years”

António Sá da Costa, President of APREN, the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association, welcomed ECO123 to the association’s headquarters in Lisbon. Focusing on the state of affairs in Portugal for producing energy from renewable sources and expectations for the future, the conversation was fluid and fascinating, and ranged over a large number of topics. This demonstrated the notable capacity for communication and the passion of the man who regards himself as a “marathon runner” for the benefit of renewable energies in Portugal. What is the current proportion of renewable energy sources in energy production in Portugal? Nowadays, over 50% of our …

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Interview with Alfredo Cunhal Sendim

Alfredo Cunhal Sendim (49) runs the Herdade do Freixo do Meio farm in Montemor-o-Novo. As a young man he worked on the fishing nets in Ferragudo in the Algarve, and planned to be a fisherman, but it is in the Alentejo that he is now at the helm of his dream to create a paradise on earth. The “montado” agro-system, which he regards as being the planet’s future and salvation. What is the significance of the montado, whose importance you compare to that of the era of the discoveries in the history of Portugal. The montado is a marvellous Portuguese …

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Fisherman Zeca Àguas

That’s the way life is

Interview with the fisherman Zeca Águas (55), from Portimão. ECO123: Nowadays, when you observe the amount of fish in the sea and compare it with a generation ago, do you notice any differences? Zeca Águas: According to my experience of 15 years ago, both in terms of my studies or from what I can see with my eyes, including soundings, we have 75% less fish today. Many species are affected because no one has been concerned about them until today – only now. For the first time, last year, they took the trouble to introduce a closed season. They didn’t …

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Submarino JAGO, GEOMAR

The End of the Oceans?

Interview with Prof. Mojib Latif (61) GEOMAR, Kiel in Germany   ECO123: We produce a magazine in which we always try to bring economics and ecology together. Do you think that can work? Mojib Latif: Yes, I am sure that can work. People talk a lot today about sustainability, an expression that is already very overused. I think the expression should rather be interpreted by the media as future viability. If it is understood in this way, then you can see straight away that economics and ecology are not opposites, rather they can only function together. Unfortunately we are currently …

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ASAE – Friend or foe of small producers and traders?

ASAE, the Economic and Food Safety Authority, was set up in 2005 under the Ministry of the Economy and in the nine years since it was set up, until 2014, it had amassed some 175 million euros from inspections, criminal proceedings, seizures and other offences. Since it started, ASAE, the authority specialising in food safety and economic surveillance, has triggered opposing sentiments. Viewed by some as the enemy of traditional businesses and what is known as “home-made” produce, it is recognised by many as a guarantor of food quality, consumer protection and fair competition between economic operators. Its operational policy …

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