AGRICULTURE

HONEST AGRICULTURE MAY NOT FILL MUCH YOUR POCKET, BUT FILLS YOUR SPIRIT AT MOST

In my family there has been a long tradition of cultivating bananas. In 1980, when my father died, I took over the helm of a medium-sized banana plantation or “finca” called Las Damas, in the West-coast of Tenerife. I had to deal with irrigation plans, nutrient balances, packing processes, labour issues and other aspects of an agriculture business. My input was mainly technical and supervision as a part-time dedication, allowing me to keep my other commitments as professional biologist.

At present, the finca is a family corporation called Agricola Tauce S.A. I am the President, my brother Mario takes care of finances, and my daughter Laura runs the cultivation. In the past we packed our own fruit. Initially we packed and exported our own fruit, but now we are part  of Europlatano, a cooperative which takes care of commercialisation.

I miss walking under the shade of the banana leaves avoiding the pitchforks and spider webs; looking for suspicious scratches on the skin of the fruit, jumping away when the sprinklers start, and the smell of the wet earth and the other fruits that grow as secondary production: mangos, avocados, guavas…  Yes, I miss that smell. Such happens to a President who has to look at paperwork and has too many irons in the fire.

The man with the red shirt is Darío, our diligent sharecropper.

Finca Las Damas (Guía de Isora)
Situated near the village of Playa de San Juan (Tenerife), it has a fortunate climate and terrific views over the Atlantic, with the island of La Gomera anchored at the horizon. Sunsets are just amazing! An ideal place for rural tourism which is a recently added activity introduced by Laura.
www.fincalasdamas.es

 

Gabacera Norte  (Tazacorte)
I own a smaller finca in La Palma, inherited from my mother. It is placed in one of the best coastal areas for banana cultivation, also on the lee side of the island. The plants grow on the original ground that was, in the past, a sugar-cane plantation. The climate is superb and when I have the chance, I retire for a few relaxing days in the attached “Casa del Molino”, an ancient water-wheel house that I restored. I call it my mental clinic.

A view of Las Damas with Playa de San Juan at the back