On the occasion of a new Agroateneo meeting, this analysis forum, organized by La Voz de Almeria, Cadena SER and Agricultura 2000 with the sponsorship of the National Association of Vegetable Producers (ANOVE) and the collaboration of the Tecnova Foundation and the CUAM (El Ejido Municipal Analytical University Center), has brought together the managers of Única Group, Enrique de los Ríos; Anecoop, Iván Rodríguez, and the CASI cooperative, Antonio Domene. The meeting gave them the opportunity to look into the causes that have led to a decline in the profitability of agriculture in recent years.
In addition to the increased competition due to the arrival of products from other areas of Europe or the world, or the concentration of the European distribution groups, the first cause in the price crisis is said to be none other than the sector's disorganization. As explained by Enrique de los Ríos, of Única, the worst enemy of Almeria's agriculture is not in Europe, but in Almeria itself.
The climatic issue
The issue of climate change, denied by many, is clearly reflected in price crises, since, as recalled by Ivan Rodriguez, of Anecoop, the problem is that the rising temperatures are allowing countries that used to be unable to produce between October and April to become new competitors.
The way ahead will certainly include organic production; a model towards which Almeria has already taken consistent steps that will allow it to handle a market that is growing every year in terms of volume, and which also offers much more profitable prices to producers and marketing companies.
Quality over volume
Antonio Domene argues that Almeria should stop focusing on trying to produce more kilos, "because that is incompatible with obtaining more added value." In his opinion, that obsession with kilos is not sustainable "because that would lead us to a low cost market".
The most desirable path for a sector like Almeria's, where quality, food safety, biological control or efficiency in the use of resources have become evident, is to convince the markets over the firm's level of excellence, so that both the producer and the companies can obtain a better value.