Tourism pressure is said to have led to the loss of Pollensa farm land. | Elena Ballestero

The study of the housing situation in Pollensa that was presented recently by researchers at the University of the Balearic Islands indicated that 2.3% of farming land (346 hectares) has been lost since 1990 because of building.

Martí Solivellas, president of the Pollensa farmers cooperative, considers this figure to be "a genuine disaster". "It is greater than I had thought. Cowbells bother tourists, and they bring us ever more problems. Land is being lost to construction and to speculation."

Solivellas says that this has had an especially harmful impact on fig trees. In the 1960s and 1970s, Pollensa was known as the village of figs. Today, the fig trees have disappeared. This used to be an important business for Pollensa, with exports to the mainland, such as to Valencia. In addition, figs were a source of food for pigs and helped with the growth of business for local meat products. "In the 1970s there were was much export of sobrassada, but this came to an end in the 1990s."

In recent years, the cooperative has looked to revive the fig trade, but this has proven to be difficult because of import health controls for Turkey fig trees. Nowadays, only some forty or fifty farmers in Pollensa derive their main business from cattle or crops. Most are dedicated to the production of lamb under the local quality mark "Mé de Pollença".

Olives have gone the same way as figs. There used to be five olive presses in Pollensa. Now, there are none. Groves have been abandoned and pine trees have taken over the land.

Solivellas is convinced that if tourism pressure continues, the farming landscape will be lost. "We have to be aware of the fact that we live on an island with limited resources."