By Joe Chivers

A NEW economic project to grow natural sweetener stevia has been launched in the Axarquia.

Malaga City Council hope the pilot project will help soothe employment woes in the area, which was famous for its sugar production in the past.

The sweetener was made familiar to many through the character of Lydia Rodarte-Quayle in the hit television series Breaking Bad, who is rarely seen without a chamomile tea partnered with the sweetener.

It provides up to 150 times the sweetness of sugar, while having a minimal effect on blood sugar levels.

The council, together with the Association of Promoters and Marketers of Stevia and Other Plants (APYCSA), will invite 25 unemployed youths in each area to study stevia cultivation.

It is hoped that the courses will eventually be expanded across Malaga province, creating jobs and a new crop for the area.

The Axarquia has a history of sugar production under the Larios family, who owned a sugar mill in Torrox which can be visited today.

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