News | Dec 07 2017

FAO Awards Spanish Production Methods: Añana salt and Axarquía raisins

Two Spanish agri-food production methods recently became the first and only systems in Europe to receive the designation of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)


Vineyards in the Axarquía region, Andalusia

The first of these sites is the "Agricultural System of Valle Salado de Añana." Located in the town of Salinas de Añana (Alava, Basque Country), Valle Salado is one of the oldest salt production facilities in the world. The valley is "crossed by two small rivers which join at the center of the valley and sits on a giant salt bubble from a sea that disappeared millions of years ago." Here, salt water springs emerge in the upper part of the valley and are channeled by gravity through canals to wells and salt pans where the water evaporates to form salt. In addition to the singular geological characteristics of this area, the system is important for its careful preservation of ancient cultivation techniques, while adapting them over time.

The other site is the "Raisin Production System of La Axarquía," in Málaga. Here, producers still follow methods that have been passed down from Phoenician times. Grapes are hand harvested on the steep slopes of La Axarquía and then left to dry in the sun, without the addition of any other physical or chemical treatments. In addition to the traditional cultivation processes applied to the vines, these practices constitute a singular and sustainable process that, in turn, reflects the excellent characteristics of La Axarquía raisins.

According to the FAO, a GIAHS is a "living, evolving system of human communities in an intricate relationship with their territory, cultural or agricultural landscape, or biophysical and wider social environment."


 Practices considered unique in world

Adrienne Smith/@ICEX
Añana salt production method in the Basque Country

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