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Experts debate about the rise of organic agriculture in Spain

Seven representatives from the organic sector took part in an informative breakfast on organic farming, organized by Cajamar and Levante-EMV in Paiporta, in the Spanish province of Valencia.

The meeting served to highlight the growth of the organic sector, at a time when the acreage devoted to traditional agriculture is being reduced. In 2018, the Region of Valencia had 114,509 hectares of organic crops, a huge increase compared to the 77,120 hectares of 2015. The growth of this sector is also reflected in the turnover, which exceeded the € 450 million in Valencia in 2018. With this, the Region accounts for 25% of the sector's total turnover in Spain.

There are currently more than 2,900 organic operators in Valencia. According to María José Miquel, engineer at Anecoop, this is a positive fact for everyone, since this type of agriculture "not only brings a fresh, healthy and tastier product to the market, but also creates employment, especially in rural areas with depopulation problems."

Social change
The figures show the enormous growth of this type of agriculture. They are illustrative of a mentality change in society. People are more aware of their diet. Although other European markets (especially Germany and France) are ahead, there is already a profile of the typical consumer of organic products in Spain. "These are young people with small children and a slightly higher purchasing power," says Miquel.

It is worth noting that not everything is a success; there are also concerns. A widely discussed topic during the informative breakfast was the entry of large supermarkets into the organic market. After seeing the success of this type of products, supermarkets have become increasingly present in this sector. María José Miquel emphasized the necessity of "going hand in hand with the large supermarket chains. The market is growing thanks to supermarkets, but the growth of the organic acreage is good for everyone," she said. Domingo García, Cofrudeca technician, said that "what matters most is that organic farming remains profitable, and that people can make a living from it. This clashes with the interests of supermarkets, which want to have the product, but are not willing to cover part of the costs."

Despite these problems, the sector is undoubtedly optimistic. There was agreement about the fact that the future looks promising.



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