The Political turmoil in Portugal has caused some wealthy Portuguese to flee the country. Many?
The Political turmoil in Portugal has caused some wealthy Portuguese to flee the country. Many have left large estates behind them. In some cases peasant cooperatives have taken over the plantations and are struggling to make them productive at a time when Portuguese agriculture is hard pressed along with other sectors of the economy.
One such plantation is Torre Bela, northwest of Lisbon, in the Cartaxo region. There, a 8,000 hectares (19,838.4 acres) estate, whose owners are living in Brazil has been taken over by peasant cooperatives. It includes maize, eucalyptus, cork, and pine.
One of the problems facing the workers is a scarcity of machinery to work the plantation.
One peasant cooperative, which is working a 400 hectare (988.4 acre) piece of the giant plantation, got help from factory workers and even tourists in harvesting the maize crop on Saturday (20 September).
Some of the factory workers who have pitched in to help have come form the National Factory of Electrical Conductors and have promised to remain on the land for six months.
Machines to help with the work had been promised but so far have not arrived. As one worker said, "We have to do the work by hand. If we waited for the machinery we'd wait forever."
But despite the hard work, local newspapers have printed quotes suggesting the workers are pleased with the chance to farm the land on their own. One is quoted as saying, "This land is very fertile. We are here under the best sunshine in the country. We have everything we want except machinery but ... there are lots of workers in the district."