Cone and pine nuts: challenges and opportunities

The pine nut sector was compared with the almond and chestnut sector and this resulted in the identification of challenges and opportunities during the INCREDIBLE Science to Practice Webinar "Cone and pine nuts: challenge and opportunities".

Photo: INCREdible
Photo: INCREdible

The H2020 INCREDIBLE Science to Practice Webinar “Cone and pine nuts: challenge and opportunities”, organised by CEF/ISA, UNAC and INIAV from Portugal joined experts from pine cones, almonds and chestnut sectors in order to share knowledge, experience and create synergies that can be potentially used in the stone pine value chain.

114 participants attended this meeting, including forestry producers, students, entrepreneurs, technicians, researchers, teachers, among others both in the online event and remotely in the Youtube channel.

Topics of great relevance were addressed, such as the legal regime for pine nuts and forest certification in Portugal. The almonds and chestnuts sectors are ahead in the use of technological equipment, plant breeding, efficient management that allows a higher control on seed production, collection, processing and conservation allowing better prices opening marketing opportunities for the products.

What were the main conclusions of this webinar?

  • The existence of a legal framework for Pinus pinea in Portugal allows monitoring the operators activity from harvest to processing, enhancing the transparency and the production process;
  • Certification of stone pine forest is important for the value chain but nuts from certified forests are not yet recognized by the markets and consumers;
  • There is a need for positive marketing of pine nuts as a health beneficial food, as almonds and chestnuts are;
  • It is important the focus on the implementation of technology to boost production, with emphasis on irrigation and fertilisation and also during the cone collection, namely through mechanical harvesting;
  • Gathering the national partners, exchange knowledge and experience with other nuts sectors stakeholders can be a valuable tool to identify problems and gaps, improve processes strategies to the pine nuts case.

Pine nuts are a product with high added value, and Stone pine is a species with strong potential to grow in Portugal. However, the sector lacks a more structured management, where transparency and collaboration between all agents could be fostered, working towards the elimination of the informal economy and thefts. There is a window of opportunity to enhance the positive experiences of other successful nut sectors in Portugal and through R&D+i investments to achieve the necessary technological advances.

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‘Innovation Networks of Cork, Resins and Edibles in the Mediterranean basin’ (INCREDIBLE) promotes cross-sectoral collaboration and innovation to highlight the value and potential of Non-Wood Forest Products to support sustainable forest management and rural development. INCREDIBLE is coordinated by the European Forest Institute, bringing together universities, research centres and professional organisations.