The Catalan Cork Institute (ICSuro) is one of the 13 Spanish entities participating in the innovative project Go Suber (Operative Group for the modernisation of the cork harvesting to improve productivity), whose main objective is to modernise the cork stripping task through the mechanisation process, harvesting optimisation and the improvement of health and safety conditions.
In addition to this general objective, the project also aims to increase the added value of cork as a product, as well as its derivatives, in order to improve its commercialisation. To achieve this goal, ICSuro is developing new applications such as the design of “green roofs” that take advantage of the insulating and bio-absorbing properties of the cork-by products.
The initiative, which started in 2017, is also analysing the machines currently used for cork stripping, as well as complementary tools such as stairwells and pincers with the ultimate aim of examining their performance and ergonomics and making them more efficient and safe. In addition, the Go Suber project also reviews the harvesting systems and procedures and defines the technical basis for a new controlled production of cork oak bark to improve decision-making.
The testing of prototypes and techniques will be carried out in parallel in Andalusia, Extremadura and Catalonia, the regions in Spain with the highest number of cork production at national scale. The results will be extrapolated in 2020 to a European level with the aim of benefiting the owners of cork oaks, forestry companies, students of schools and faculties linked to the cork sector, cork companies and the public administration.
The Go Suber project has been co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) of the European Union and supported by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food through the National Rural Development Programme.