InnovAgroWoMed grant gave a boost to revive a local variety of peanut in Spain
Ana Climent Ortiz (La Granja de la Costera, Valencian community, Spain) has a degree in journalism and is specialized in marketing. She has received complementary training linked to the agricultural sector at the Escola d'Agroecologia de l'Horta; she has the Comprehensive Training Course in Agroecology (CERAI) and the "System and good hygiene practices" (APPCC).
The Ca Climent project was selected in Agro-lab, a program specialized in agri-food of the Col-lab accelerator (Las Naves and Ajuntament de València) in 2021 and won the second prize for the best project development.
How and when did your business idea come up?
"Ca Climent arrived during the lockdown. A parenthesis that left me time for reflection, miles away from my parents and the products of their garden. The exact moment was during an aperitif with beer and peanuts bought in a supermarket. As I ate them, the taste was far from those grown and roasted by my father. I thought, are they out of date? When I read the packaging I discovered what I didn't know until then... the vast majority of peanuts we currently consume in Valencia are imported from China or the United States of America, even those sold labelled as 'Collaret', 'del terreno' or 'Valenciano'. How could such a product come from so far away?"
Ideas don't belong to anyone, they are in the air. We only take ownership of them when we execute them
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
"I wanted to change this paradigm. I chose peanuts as my first product because of their emergency status, the traditional Valencian varieties Collaret and Cacaua are in danger of extinction. Since the 1970s, peanuts have ceased to be cultivated in our lands due to the arrival of imported peanuts - with lower prices - which meant that local farmers had to abandon the crop.
I thought it was time to resume the generational relay of the Climent family, farmers who have preserved for four generations the native seed of these traditional varieties that now sprout again in the field. If I didn't do it now, it would be lost forever.
I had to dedicate a full year (2021) to the repopulation of our own seeds and in 2022 I was able to start with a larger extension of cultivation that would allow us to start marketing it."
How did the InnovAgroWoMed subgrant helped you to develop your entrepreneurial idea and overcome the initial problems?
"The subgrant came at a key moment to be able to face the last items of an investment that was initially much lower than expected.
When we had to open our own bakery, because we could not find anyone to do the peanut processing for us, we found ourselves with some extra expenses that we were able to face thanks to the subgrant. Mainly, the adaptation and the works of the workshop space along with the technical report for the permit of the safe activity and the final certificate of the facilities. As well as the pest control system in the space and part of the equipment for the roasting activity."
Have you faced any specific difficulties in the process because you are a woman?
"Despite being a very masculinized sector, in my case I have not felt any specific difficulty due to the fact that I am a woman. Perhaps it is also influenced by the fact that I have the support of my father, my tutor and mentor in the whole process of generational change, who has been the one who has introduced me to the practice of cultivation and I continue to learn from him to this day."
Tell us about what you have achieved so far and your expectations for the future.
"Cacaus Climent has managed to recover the authentic flavor of València's peanuts, taking up again a crop that was about to disappear. And we have also done it by bringing innovation in the nuts sector, using a compostable packaging. We are the only ones that bring together the entire production chain (we are producers, roasters and sellers of local peanuts) to guarantee the quality and freshness of the product.
Very interesting synergies are emerging with farmers interested in contributing to the cultivation of peanuts in order to expand the volume of each harvest and thus be able to have a greater supply of Climent peanuts grown and roasted by hand near us."
What has the InnovAgroWoMed project meant for you?
Thanks to InnovAgroWoMed I have been able to execute the last development phase of the Ca Climent project prior to its launch. Our project was conceived to grow organically and slowly, without investors or external funding given its structure. This help has been crucial so that today we are already selling our first product, the Cacaus Climent, through online sales and in a selection of 15 gourmet food stores in the province of Valencia."
After your experience, what advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
"Ideas don't belong to anyone, they are in the air. We only take ownership of them when we execute them. And there is no good idea if it is not executed... so I encourage all my colleagues who are considering whether or not to start a business to start down this path.
In the end it is a journey of learning, sometimes it can become very uphill but when you get to the end, when the project is born, it compensates all the effort and dedication.
Do not fail to ask other colleagues or projects that already started in the sector, you will find people willing to help selflessly. This is the spirit that is also shared among women entrepreneurs."
Within the framework of the EU funded project InnovAgroWoMed, Jovesólides has worked for three years with partner organizations in Italy, Tunisia and Palestine in the development of a needs assessment, design and implementation of a training program in the four participating countries. Subsequently, different accompaniment, training, coaching and economic support have been developed to promote entrepreneurship and facilitate the labor insertion of women in the agri-food sector.
Thanks to this experience, 35 women at risk of social exclusion have been trained in Spain and to date, at least 54% of them are already working.