The Region of Valencia leads the Spanish organic growth, with the sharpest increases at national level when it comes to organic operators, organic producers and certified organic acreage, according to the latest Annual Report of the Organic Production, elaborated by the Comité d'Agricultura Ecologica de la Comunitat Valenciana (CAECV). Also, Valencia's organic agriculture has generated a turnover exceeding 450 million Euro in 2018, which is 25% of the sector's total national turnover.
In the last four years, the number of hectares devoted to organic crops has doubled, and they already represent 13.9% of the total agricultural acreage, compared to the 5.7% of 2015.
The upward trend in the number of certified operators has so far continued in 2019, since 3,243 operators have registered to date. This means that in the first three months of the year alone, there has been more growth than in 2018 as a whole, with an increase of 339 operators, compared to 297 in the previous year. This rebound is also reflected in the certified organic acreage. While just over 18,000 hectares were created last year, 15,000 have already been certified in the first quarter of 2019.
Rico said that the applications to become certified organic producers arrive mostly in the first and last months of the year, and he said that with the data currently available, "we can predict that the Region of Valencia will probably maintain the national leadership in terms of growth in 2019."
Also, the report shows that in 2018, the number of organic producers in the region, including agricultural producers, livestock farmers, vegetative material producers and aquaculture producers, increased by 8.8%, from 2,037 to 2,218. If we look at the last four years, there has been a 22.6% growth; more than any other region.
When it comes to the number of operators and producers, the province of Castellón grows the most, with 19% and 18.9% increases, respectively.
Last year, the number of companies in the sector has increased by 19.1%, well above the national average, which stands at 11%. If we look at the development since 2015, the number of companies has doubled. Antonio Rico says that this data is very significant, since "the companies make the decision to become certified because there is a market that is demanding such products. There is an interest on the part of the companies in being able to manage this productive model," he said.
The president of CAECV also appreciates the effort made by these companies to obtain the organic certificate, since they do not have access to any subsidies, beyond the bonuses to certification, which covers up to 70% of the costs of the procedure.