Araira is a Venezuelan Town located in the Bolivar Parish of the Zamora Municipality, Miranda State and its name is synonymous with tangerine, because it is here where the best tangerine from Venezuela is produced. However, it is worth mentioning that Araira and Bolivar Parish are agricultural areas where different items are successfully produced, including lemon, avocado and cassava.
In the 1st Season of "Sembrando un País" we recorded 2 chapters in this town, the first dedicated to the cultivation of tangerine and the second to the industrial processing of this item to obtain its pulp in the Fruit Plant of the Company Los Lácteos Los Andes .
Sembrando un País 1st Season. Chapter 13: Tangerine.
Grate for us is that in Araira we also find people like that, in the sector La Verdecita lives and works José Cabarico an agricultural producer who we had the pleasure of knowing when we recorded the chapter dedicated to tangerine in our 1st season. Nowadays, José introduced a crop that is not common in mountainous areas, it is the Banana, a fruit widely consumed and appreciated in Venezuela.
For the 2nd Season of Sembrando un País we decided to make a chapter dedicated to the production of this item and we were surprised to learn that José was planting it successfully in Araira. Commonly the cambur is planted in flat places and one of the best examples of this agricultural tendency is found in the Aragua State in the surroundings of a good part of the Regional Highway of the Center, from where you can see several production units widely dedicated to the cultivation of this fruit.
However, it is necessary to ask whether, in mountainous soils such as those of Araira, could this fruit be cultivated with a quality and commercial profitability equal to that cultivated in flat areas? It is true that the mountain can provide benefits to this crop that we do not find in the flat soil as the natural drainage that the slope offers us, and at the same time it has obvious disadvantages such as the difficulty to move within the plantations, and certain complications at the moment of taking the harvests from the production unit, both disadvantages given precisely by the slope.
We believe it is necessary to evaluate the benefits and complications that could arise for a producer from Araira, Miranda State, to cultivate this item in order to supply the national market.
View of the sector La Verdecita, Araira, Miranda State.
Agricultural producer José Cabarico in his banana plantation. Miranda State.
Sembrando un País 1st Season. Chapter 19: Araira Fruit Plant, Company Lácteos Los Andes.
One of the impressions we have regarding the cultivation of tangerine is that the properties at the climatic and geographic level offered by Araira for the production of this item, seem to be unique in Venezuela, none of the tangerines grown in any other part of the country can equal with the tangerine produced in Araira, and this leads us to think that this town could experience a sustainable economic growth around this fruit.
However, we believe that it is a bad idea for a region, state or country to depend on the production of a single product and therefore it is good that there are entrepreneurs and innovators who seek to enrich the productive landscape by introducing non-traditional activities or crops in the region, and aim to achieve common welfare.
Tangerine and banana plantings of the Cabarico family.
Ruths Cabarico harvesting bunch of banana.
First, let us consider that floods can seriously damage banana plantations, and in Venezuela, as heat waves are frequent during the dry season, there are also very long rainfalls during the rainy season that easily flood the flat areas. Although this problem can be solved by establishing a good drainage in the plantation, the slope of the mountains offers this drainage in a natural way which can mean an economic saving. On the other hand the irregular shape of the mountain relief can hinder the alignment of the plantation and prevent a good use of space, however it should be mentioned that the tangerine is planted in a frame of 4 meters by 4 meters and the disadvantages that can bring pending does not prevent the producers of Araira align their tangerine plantations, so there should be no problem in this regard to align the banana plants that are located in a frame of 2 meters by 2 meters
Mountainous soils complicate the mobility of producers and this must be taken into account because banana plants very often require cultural work such as cutting dry or diseased leaves, maintaining at least 3 shoots per plant and the support of the pseudostem of the plants that produce very heavy clusters, a task that is known in Venezuela as "horquetear" (support the plant so that it does not fall). This implies frequent transfers of the producer and mobilization of tools throughout the plantation. In the case of tangerine, the most important cultural work is pruning and it is only done in a specific period, while in banana plants this point is more laborious and therefore must be taken into account in order to establish if its production in Araira can offer economic profitability to the producer who decides to assume this crop.
Producer José Cabarico removing damaged leaves from the plants.
Another disadvantage that we had previously established is the mobilization of the crops and again we make a comparison with the tangerine; it is so difficult to remove from a unit of production in Araira the heavy bunches of wheat as well as the sacks or crates of tangerine, in fact when the plants of this last item are in their biggest production cycle mules are usually used to be able to mobilize all the production. Then similar methods could be used with the banana, for this what the producer must take into account is to establish the different stages of his cambural at the same time so that the plants have a similar development and the harvest can be obtained in parallel.
Finally, we would like to take into consideration that Araira is a small town and needs the innovation that its inhabitants can bring, also the parish Bolívar borders Guatire parish, the area with the highest population density and belonging to metropolitan area of Caracas, which means greater food needs that can be be attended by producers from nearby agricultural areas such as Araira.
Sembrando un País 2nd Season Chapter 12: Banana. Path of access to the plantation of the Cabarico family.
Likewise, the Bolívar Parish borders on the Acevedo Municipality of the same State of Miranda. This Municipality belongs to the Barlovento region, in which the banana is consumed but not produced, which means that this fruit has an outlet in the immediate vicinity of the Araira population and this guarantees the market for this activity to have economic viability for the producer, and the same can make the contribution of this important item to the national market.
To conclude, is it worth to plant Cambur in Araira? In our opinion, based on the experience we had the opportunity to meet in the production unit belonging to the Cabarico family and based on our belief that any area or region should be oriented to produce as much as possible with the greatest possible variety of items, we say yes, we think there are very good reasons to produce this item in Araira and also José Cabarico shows us that the crop can be developed successfully.