The area around the Albufera park has a great deal of land for farming use.

06-02-2018Teresa Ayuga

The Asaja agricultural businesses association has expressed its opposition to the proposed expansion of the Albufera Nature Park. Half of the additional 400-plus hectares that the government plans to integrate into the park correspond to cultivation that is typical of marshland in Muro and Sa Pobla; more than 2,000 small plots would be affected.

The association believes that the expansion would make no sense if the government doesn't first address and solve problems in the existing park. It considers the announcement of the increase to be a "smoke screen". The manager of Asaja, Joan Simonet, says that the proposal represents "a new attack on Majorca's agriculture" and argues that the government is deceiving farmers and the mayors of Muro and Sa Pobla*.

"Although President Armengol denies it," he claims, "it will have an impact on the agricultural sector if we abide by the current regulations". These cover, for instance, the types of crop and the movement of earth. Simonet assumes that the president "has also been deceived by the environment minister". Vicenç Vidal, the minister, has turned his back on the farming sector, maintains Simonet, as he has not at any time consulted it over the expansion.

Asaja highlights the regular complaints from environmentalists regarding the poor condition of the Albufera park. In 2016, for example, GOB warned that there was a decrease in the population of waterfowl, that there were discharges of untreated water and there was also salinisation. The announcement of the expansion, in Asaja's opinion, is to divert attention away from these failings.

* Muro's mayor, Martí Fornés, has in fact questioned the expansion and the impact on farmers.

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