Last Wednesday, July 12, the municipality of Tavira presented a digital platform that identifies farmland owners and the type of crop planted on each plot to help prevent theft of agricultural produce such as carob.
The “Tavira + Segura” Platform was created by the municipality with the support of the GNR and the Regional Directorate of Agriculture of the Algarve. It is designed to “gather information voluntarily introduced by landowners, such as location, area, type of crop cultivated and even the number of existing trees on each plot”, explained the mayor of the municipality, Ana Paula Martins.
During the project’s presentation, held at the Álvaro de Campos Municipal Library in Tavira, Ana Paula Martins recalled that the existing Barrocal and mountain area in the municipality was, in the last year, significantly affected by carob thefts and the platform arose from the need to “answer this problem”.
Attending the presentation, the captain of the GNR, Serrano Galego, explained that, when registering, owners have access to a label with a number specifically created for the purpose that will give the security forces access to all the information regarding that location and will serve as a “dissuasive element” for perpetrators, as they also contain the emblems of the GNR and other partnering entities.
This tool also enables authorities to safely identify owners so that they can file complaints against anyone who steals carob and harvests it illegally.
With this number, the authorities know who the owner is, have access to contacts and geolocate the site, allowing faster access, but also to know at what stage harvest is, directing patrols to areas where fruit collection is yet to be carried out.
The Platform also has the “added value” of providing information such as existing wells on the land and the state they are in, which is “also a useful tool” in case of fire or other emergency.
“Membership is voluntary, and the information will only be used for these purposes”, said the mayor, calling on owners to register on the platform, adding that the parish councils of the municipality have teams prepared to support those who have difficulty accessing digital tools.
Ana Paula Martins stressed that the platform, which was created within nine months with support from the Regional Directorate of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Algarve, will not be used for other purposes.
Also attending the presentation, the regional director of Agriculture for the Algarve, Pedro Valadas Monteiro, classified the platform as an “essential” tool for Tavira and other municipalities and the region.
Pedro Valadas Monteiro recalled that carob is an “emblematic” species of the Barrocal, which exists on almost every terrain, but stressed that the tool is also capable of identifying other species, the number of trees existing on the plots or even the species of each plant and state of maturation.
“If there are half a dozen trees on a plot, tons of carob cannot be harvested”, he exemplified, stressing that this aspect is also essential for the classification of theft and for the work the police and judicial authorities have to carry out.