The Almeria-based company Hispalus wants to launch an ambitious project in the Alava municipality of Espejo, where it intends to build a mega farm, with 180,000 square meters of greenhouses devoted to tomato cultivation in hydroponics. The goal of the Andalusian company, which has retailer Eroski as a customer, is for the product to be harvested daily, so that it is available to consumers the next day, "with the consequent freshness and reduction of logistics costs."
However, this project, which will require an investment of 12 million Euro and generate more than 60 jobs, is facing criticism in some areas of Alava and the Basque Country. Agricultural unions warned that this mega farm entails a radical deviation from the family farming model "defended by the sector and advocated, at least in theory, by the administration."
They recall that the Basque horticultural production is based on the cultivation of tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and chilli, "so that the entry of an actor as important as Hispalus could seriously threaten current farms."
Trade unions have criticised both the Lakua Executive and Eroski for endorsing this project. The Government says that it is an initiative "that arises with the idea of becoming a complement to the sector," but denies being part of its capital. Meanwhile, the cooperative insists on its commitment to the local economy "because more than 2,000 products we sell come from 300 small local producers."