21 May 2024

REN supports the preservation and valorisation of Ermelo oranges with the planting of 1,350 orange trees

REN – Redes Energéticas Nacionais and the Union of the Parishes of São Jorge and Ermelo, in Arcos de Valdevez, planted over 1,350 Ermelo orange trees today in the Power Transmission Lines’ corridor, in an area of about three hectares of the Baldios de São Jorge. The planting of this native variety of orange trees, which are unique in the country, aligns with REN's commitment to protecting the forest from wildfires, and aims for the preservation and valorisation this traditional fruit of the region. With a history dating back to the 13th century, these oranges were introduced to this territory by the Benedictine Monks.

The launch of this partnership took place on the Baldios de São Jorge, and was attended by 100 fourth-grade students from the Agrupamento de Escolas de Valdevez [Valdevez School Cluster], who symbolically planted some orange trees. This initiative also included a tasting of two dishes made with Ermelo oranges, prepared by chef Álvaro Costa.

For REN, the planting of native species on land crossed by the Power Transmission Lines, which are compatible with the respective fuel management strips and generate annual income, is essential to valorising these territories and ensuring the continuity of a production that was disappearing. Through commercialisation of the organically grown fruit, this initiative will generate value for the landowners and the local community, allowing producers to enter a more exclusive and financially attractive market.

The Ermelo orange has already been recognised as a "Slow Food" product, and has unique characteristics thanks to the microclimate of the area where it develops, which provides a sweeter and juicier fruit. For decades, these orange trees were crucial for the development of the local community, but with the aging population and the trees themselves, production has declined.

Now, the aim is to resume the valorisation of this orange, which, according to Horácio Cerqueira, President of the Parish Council of the Union of the Parishes of São Jorge and Ermelo, "is a top priority task to prevent the orange tree from disappearing and to be able to market this unique product more extensively and on a larger scale". "As soon as these three hectares are planted, we will have room to consider going further than the progress that has been made so far. We want this orange to be even more known and valued, and that this valorisation can bring financial return to the community. We also believe that this project will serve as an incentive for the creation of new businesses based on this product," says Horácio Cerqueira.