Spain: Almeria's organic agriculture grows by 70% in two years

What started as the commitment of a group of producers has become the goal for Almeria's entire horticultural sector, which has been on the path towards integrated production for two decades and is now facing a new, decisive step to gain a foothold on the markets.

The data published by the Government of Andalusia clearly reflect this commitment and reveal that in only two years, from 2015 to 2017, the acreage devoted to organic farming has grown by 70 percent and that the province is now at the top of the sector when it comes to the number of operators, with about 3,000.

Biologic control
The move towards sustainability has meant that in just five years more than 80 percent of greenhouse farms have introduced biological pest control methods, gradually abandoning the use of pesticides, whose consumption has plummeted.

This is a significant development which has turned Almeria's agriculture into a clear example of sustainability and food safety in Europe. Recently, the European Commission has issued a warning to the Union's Member States about the low level of application of the regulations for the sustainable use of pesticides, but in the case of Almeria, the level of compliance is very high and affects most greenhouse crops, more than 26,000 hectares of the existing 30,000 hectares.

The sustainability promoted and imposed by the Commission is clearly exemplified by Almeria's optimal use of resources and the efficiency of its production model. Issues such as the high productivity of water, whose consumption has been reduced by almost 80 percent in recent years, or the fact that more than 90 percent of the energy used comes directly from the sun, entail that the province's environmental management is more efficient than in the rest of European production areas.

This was acknowledged even by Dutch ambassador Matthijs van Bonzel, who comes from a country which is an example in the field of innovation and agricultural technology. During a meeting with the Almerian agricultural sector, he stated that Almeria "spends 22 times less energy than the Netherlands in its crops and its consumption of water per hectare "has dropped from 60 litres per crop unit to just 4 in a few years."

This is the path chosen by the province's productive system, which perfectly meets the demands of consumers and large distribution chains.

Source: La Voz de Almería

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