With more than 30 million tons produced per year, which represents 18,000 million Euro in turnover, Spain is the leading producer of fruit and vegetables in the European Union; the “garden of Europe”, says the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas.
“We are known for our quality, innovation and commercial capacity to respond to the market's needs and expectations, which are those of the consumers. Those consumers want fresh and quality products that meet their desires. That is the goal,” he said to Efeagro, claiming that despite the difficulty of competing in areas such as salary costs, it is possible to compete “in terms of quality and innovation and commercial capacity.”
Value in Europe
Eurostat data confirm that fruit and vegetables represent the most valuable activity in the EU agro-food sector. In Spain's case, there is production across the entire territory, although more significantly in regions such as Andalusia, Extremadura, Catalonia, Murcia, the Region of Valencia or Aragon. The sector's economic results, with a 12% rise in value in 2020, have a fundamental impact on the country's agricultural turnover.
For the director of the Spanish Federation of Associations of Producers and Exporters of Fruits, Vegetables, Flowers and Live Plants (Fepex), José María Pozancos, the sector fulfills two strategic objectives: guaranteeing a supply of fruits and vegetables to all consumers at reasonable prices, and promoting a highly sustainable development of the rural world.
Pozancos, who also highlights the diversification of the Spanish sector, says that it is “a very labor-intensive activity which generates a lot of employment in rural areas (approximately 280,000 jobs). Employment is increasingly less seasonally-based, and the implementation of high precision agriculture entails having better trained and more highly-qualified workers, which obviously motivates young people to stay in rural areas.”