On the sunny afternoon of September 10, a visit to the National Fruit Station Vieira Natividade - National Institute of Agricultural and Veterinary Research, IP (ENFVN - INIAV, IP) took place in partnership with the FLOWer-Lab of the Centre for Functional Ecology (University of Coimbra).
This visit took place as part of the project Bee Responsible. An Iberian project coordinated by the Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (Portugal) and Ecocolmena (Spain).
Under the motto 'The importance of pollination in agriculture, from production to fruit quality', the action began with the presentation of the project GO Polimax/COTHN-CC which, based on several study techniques, aims to demonstrate the importance of the pollination process in quality fruit production.
The participants learned that bees are the main pollinators of vegetable crops and fruit trees, and that in Europe there are about 2000 bee species, which represents 10% of the world's diversity, and that in Portugal alone we can find more than 700 species, which is one of the reasons why experts consider Portugal a "biodiversity hot spot"!
Bees and other pollinators such as sirfids (flower flies), for example, provide an important service to ecosystems. Their relevance in the environment is indispensable for its natural balance.
In a second part, the participants were invited to perform a fruit harvest (2 varieties of apples) with explanation/demonstration of the best method. Under the guidance of the ENFVN coordinator, Eng Rui Sousa and as if they were farmers, with great dynamism and enthusiasm everyone headed to the rows with their buckets and baskets.
After the harvest, a demonstration was given to measure the size, sugar content (brix) and maturity of the fruit, using a sizer, a refractometer and a penetrometer, respectively.
Measuring the size of the fruit, using an apple and pear gauge.
Measuring the sugar content (brix) of the fruit, using a refractometer.
Measuring the degree of maturity of the fruit, using a penetrometer.
This is how our visit to the fruit orchard of the National Fruit Station Vieira Natividade ended, with the feeling that our goal was accomplished and our knowledge was enriched!
Our thanks to Eng. Rui Sousa, ENFVN's coordinator, João Loureiro, Sílvia Castro and Rafael Carvalho from FLOWer Lab, for the friendliness and good mood with which they received us and the professional way in which they conducted the visit.
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