Spain: Organic farmers would be less affected by a crisis than conventional producers

Ecological producers would suffer less than conventional farmers if there were a crisis, stated the general deputy director of Differentiated Quality and Ecological Production of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Javier Mate.

For example, in the dairy sector the people that opted for organic production have not been affected by the price crisis as much as conventional dairy producers.

The organic farmers' profitability is improving, helped by a growing consumption and market trends, which have a positive impact. So these professionals, who have higher production costs, can sell their products at fair and equitable prices.

This agricultural sector, which according to Mate will be the best prepared to face the challenges of the next Common Agricultural Policy, is also keeping an eye on the reform of the CAP.

The ecological sector in the new CAP and in the food chain
According to Mate, the new programming will be more directed to the environmental policies, which should benefit the ecological sector. The current negotiations propose a substantial change to implement measures based on agronomic evolution indicators, in which ecological matters are very important.

When compared to other sectors, there seems to be a greater understanding and interrelation between the links of the organic producer's food chain: "Here, the roles of each of the actors in the chain are working."

There were times when the producers took their products out of Spain to transform them to achieve better prices, but this is changing as the industry matures and "many relevant firms already have an ecological production line."

Organic production has to be on the same level as the rest of the agri-food sectors in terms of its commitment to innovation and technological development, he said.

More research and promotion
According to Mate, "producing ecological products does not mean going against progress, because adapting to producing without using chemical products, for example, requires doing more research."

Promotion is key in the policies that the MAPA develops around this productive area to support its evolution, consolidation, and to assert its contribution in the fight against climate change and environmental protection.

Mate stated that the Alimentos de España program will focus strongly on the organic sector, as they consider it is a very important bulwark for the promotion of national foods.

The ecological sector can also be a stimulus to populate rural areas as it can be attractive for young men and women that want to start working in this agricultural area.

Data on Spanish ecological production
According to data from 2017, Spain has just over two million hectares devoted to organic products, which makes it the leading country in terms of ecological surface areas exploited, in the EU, and the fifth in the world behind Australia, Argentina, the US, and China.

In 2017, the cultivated area increased by 3.14% over the previous year and +5.8% regarding the average annual growth of the last five years.

Currently, 8.2% of the useful agricultural area in Spain is already dedicated to organic production.

The production volume in 2017 was 1.64 million tons worth 1,829 million euro, according to data provided by the Ministry.


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