Buyers for Minorca's milk CAPSA, the group which owns Central Lechera Asturiana, gave Minorcan farmers a welcome piece of good news this week with the announcement that they will purchase between 6 and 6.5 million litres of their milk from the end of the summer. CAPSA was not expected to operate in Minorca until 2006 when the new bottling centre a project between CAPSA and Island dairy cooperative, COINGA was fully functioning. This milk to be purchased is over and above the quota purchased by COINGA for cheese production, and the majority of the 40 farmers interested are those who have lost sales to Kraft. CAPSA will export milk to their bottling plant in Vicreres (Girona), although given the transport costs, a lower price will probably be paid than for milk purchased on mainland Spain. COINGA and CAPSA will meet at the end of this month to discuss logistics and pricing. By 2005, CAPSA hopes to purchase between 10 and 12 million litres and once the bottling plant is in function in 2006, this should increase to 30 and 35 million litres of milk around half of current production. The COINGA bottling plant will be located in Alaior, although it is still at the basic plan stage, awaiting approval from the island's council. Costing 6 million euros, the joint venture will see COINGA and CAPSA forming a society and the milk will almost certainly be marketed under the Asturiana brand name. Expansion will also enable COINGA to increase its cheese manufacturing facilities, from 16 million to 25 million litres. CAPSA was not the only company to bring good news to the island's farmers. Business man, Francisco Marin Mula, supplier to the Alicantebased dairy Clesa, visited the island to propose its farms commit 2025% of their annual quota for sale to mainland cheese industries, some 18 million litres in total. He was accompanied by Lorenzo Abellan from Murcianbased Queserias Montesinos, which is also interested in Minorcan milk. In Es Mercadal, Abellan, Marin and Ciutadella councillor, Jordi Salford Bosch (who has been in contact with various mainland dairy producers), presented their proposal to farmers and the island council. Marin and Abellan say the venture would require an initial investment of 1.2 million euros to construct a small plant, employing three or four workers, to filter the milk and produce curd and condensed milk before exportation. If approved, the project could begin in a matter of months. The island council gave a cautious welcome to the project, Marin and Abellan are to carry out a feasibility study.