Portugal - World Champion in Cork Exports
To us it's such an honor and pride to see how Portugal has become an innovator in so many industrial sectors. Not only do these initiatives promote the Portuguese craftsmanship abroad, but has become an essential component in regenerating the once declined economy from 2006, we are happy to share these articles as we come across them. Enjoy.
Courtesy of: www.dw.com
In addition to cork bottle stoppers, which still account for three quarters of production, cork is becoming increasingly important as a building material. Even the fashion industry has discovered the qualities of cork.
Cork has become a Portuguese success story. Despite the fact that such trees are a long-term investment, even the 750,000 hectares (1.85 million acres) of cork oak forests which have been long neglected are growing again. Though to remain sustainable a cork oak can only be stripped after 25 years for the first time and subsequently only every ten years after that.
On the other hand the technical progress in the processing of cork bark is accelerating. The men working Amorim's punching machines may soon be a thing of the past. The first punching robots are already working right next to them. These robots also check the quality of the cork before they cut - doing the job electronically and twice as fast.
Portugal is the world champion of everything cork. It has the most agricultural land devoted to cork in the world. It is also the biggest producer and exporter. Last year the country made 937.5 million euros ($1.04 billion) selling to 133 different countries; a four percent increase on the previous year. All told cork adds up to around 7.5 percent of all Portuguese exports - and there seems no end in sight.