The general director of Industria Alimentaria, a body under the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA), Fernando Burgaz, highlighted the opportunities which organic production offers for diversification and "its bond with traditional production systems and the land." Additionally, he stressed the service that the sector provides to consumers through these differentiated products.
During the presentation of the "Organic food week", organised by the Ministry from 23 to 28 September to promote the consumption of these products of great importance for a healthy and balanced diet, and with a very positive impact on the environment.
Burgaz stressed the importance of organic production in terms of acreage and operators, placing particular emphasis on the increase in the number of industrial processors, which is 20.12% higher than in 2011. During the period 1991-2010, the industry has grown 61 times in size.
An export-oriented sector
The general director also highlighted the sector's orientation towards exporting, "with the European Union as its main destination," pointing out that 44% of the income made from processed products comes from international markets.
"The result is a positive commercial balance, estimated at 295 million Euro," indicated Burgaz. He also mentioned that 32% of all organic food industries are exporters.
As for the domestic market, the general director estimated the value of 2011's organic production at 965 million Euro, "which accounts for 1% of all expenses in food, with an average of 20 Euro per inhabitant per year."
The sale of organic products is also characterised in Spain by a series of features which have made them reach consumers through specialised retailers, which account for 50 to 60% of the country's total sales.
"In our country, the presence of organic food items among non-specialised distributors does not reach the levels of other countries in our environment, whose consumption levels are also higher," pointed out the general director. This is why he highlighted the necessity to adequately develop all sales channels, as this in turn should have an impact on consumption levels.