The General Director of Agricultural and Food Industry MAPA, Almudena Rodriguez, inaugurated today the "First Congress of Organic Agriculture” in Galicia, which is held in Lugo. During the speech, she stressed that the fundamental characteristic of organic production in Spain is its diversity, the result of the different agricultural sectors, production systems, climates and cultures in our country.
The Director of MAPA has defined organic agriculture as a production method that provides differentiated quality food. Also added that it is a production system that respects the environment, using traditional methods and which are linked with the new European policy for quality, rural development, sustainable agriculture and living in deprived areas.
In her speech, Almudena Rodríguez, said that in recent years the production in Spain was consolidated. In 2004, the area under organic agriculture reached 733,000 hectares, with a total of 16,013 farmers and 1635 processors, a 14 percent increase over the previous year. On the other hand the value of Spanish production rose to 250 million euros, up 6 percent more than in 2003.
Data from 2005 shows that the Spanish total area under organic agriculture is 807,569 hectares, a total of 17,509 operators, with 15,693 producers, importers and 52 processors 1764. These are data that the Director of MAPA has found very positively, and indicating significant progress in both area and transformation. Thus, she explained that the estimated market value is close to 300 million euros.
Also she explained that in terms of area we are in the top positions, both at EU level, second or third, and world, without being able to specify exactly our position, in the absence of the data of the organic sector in other countries.
Almudena Rodriguez commented that the key characteristic of organic production in Spain is its diversity, the result of the different agricultural sectors, production systems, climates and cultures in our country.
As to the guidelines of organic production in Spain, the Director of MAPA, Almudena Rodriguez has indicated that forests and pastures that make up more than 450,000 hectares and are the basis of organic livestock, in which the number of cattle farms is growing (847 representing a 45 per cent of the total).
Moreover, within the ecological area under cultivation has continued to include cereals and pulses, which represent 26 percent of the cultivated area, followed by an olive grove with 25 percent of the total, followed by nuts, with 12 percent and the vine, with 5 percent.
Finally, Almudena Rodríguez emphasized the evolution of Galicia in terms of organic surface, which currently has 9156 hectares of ecological management, and that the greatest increase occurred in 2001. Thus, in Galicia has concluded that the growth rate in ecological area has been greater than the national average.