Mushroom wars

“Up north” of Almería (Tahal, Senés, Abla or Bayárcal way) you can find masses of edible and expensive mushrooms (or setas as they’re called in Spanish). The big round ones you see in the supermarkets. They fetch 20 – 40 € a kilo on the open market*.

The locals collect them, under license from the town hall, and then pay a small tax on the amount collected before selling the rest on. But this trade (described as “lucritive” by some) is under threat from organised gangs, some from as far away as the País Vasco or Barcelona, who are coming down at night with lorries full of immigrants, stripping bare the hillsides before stealing away.

Posses are being formed and local volunteers are spying the countryside with binoculars and shotguns. There are demands for more police, and even helicopters.

*Just found an ad for these mushrooms – €120 a kilo plus IVA!

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