MAJORCAN farmers complain about a glut of oranges and other citrus fruit and the low price they get for their fruit every year.
This year, three Balearic ministries have joined forces and come up with an idea to make good use of the fruit and at the same time help the farmers, instead of just dumping the excess fruit or chopping down trees. The agriculture and fisheries, education and culture and economy, commerce and industry ministries entered into an agreement with the firm Fruita Bona (literally, Good Fruit) to find a use for the excess crop. The oranges, which are of the same quality as those found in the shops, are converted into orange juice. If they were not transformed into juice or any other product, sources say, they would upset market prices and local oranges would be unable to compete with those from the Peninsula. The government is responsible for collecting the oranges and converting them into 122'000 litres of orange juice, known as Suc de les Illes (Juice of the Islands). The oranges are pressed, bottled and distributed by Miret, a well-known Majorcan soft drinks firm.
But you won't find this orange juice on sale in shops. It is being distributed free of charge to schools, particularly infants and primary schools, sports clubs, youth clubs and non-government organisations. It is schoolchildren aged between three and seven who have benefited most from the campaign, which involves not only drinking the orange juice but learning where it comes from, although how much interest a three year old will take in the educational side is a moot point. The campaign was launched on February 21 and so far 77 schools with 43'000 children have signed up. A total of 35'000 litres of orange juice has been distributed this way. At the Food Fair, visitors are given a voucher to exchange for a bottle of orange juice at the Suc de les Illes stand, where it is also possible to sample a glass.

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