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Profitability and competitiveness: crucial concepts for Spanish greenhouse vegetables

The lack of profitability and competitiveness of the Spanish greenhouse vegetable production was one of the key points discussed at the meeting of the protected vegetable sector, held with the presence of the Director General of Agricultural Productions and Markets, Esperanza Orellana. She acknowledged that there has been a drop in profitability in the sector and defended the need for its "restructuring."

One of the structural changes that Orellana suggested was to improve the level of organization of greenhouse horticulturists, bringing them together in Producer Organizations (PO) and Associations of PO (APO) in order to regulate the market, carry out product withdrawals with European funds and have more bargaining power before large retailers.

"We should find out why the POs are not yet in the most desirable situation," said Orellana. She also explained that the meetings held to define Spain's Strategic Plan for the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are being used to analyze the “weaknesses, threats and strengths” of all sectors.

In her opinion, the sector needs to "greatly improve its competitiveness, and not only at European level (Dutch, highly technical greenhouses, continue to improve). It also needs to be ready to compete against third countries such as Morocco."

Given these issues, Orellana did not rule out the need "to review regulatory mechanisms, such as the Law of the food chain or the regulations on priority farms. The idea is to strive for a more modern, market-oriented sector and, above all, more profitable for producers.”

Fepex director José María Pozancos also said that the sector is dealing "with profitability issues and, consequently, the economic sustainability of farms is at risk."

He also said that competitiveness is affected by the difference in costs compared to third countries, "especially with those in Morocco, and also with Egypt and Turkey." Pozancos believes that in order to improve the competitiveness, it may be advisable to provide “incentives or funding for investments in farm structures.” Greater economic sustainability will be needed in the short term, as well as an "improvement of the effectiveness of the AOPs, so that the supply can be better planned, based on the demand."



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