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Organic Agriculture in Spain: The strategic plan

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Organic Agriculture in Spain: The strategic plan

Organic agriculture in Spain has increased dramatically in a recent years. Some figures that illustrate this are those relating to the area used for this method of production, from 4235 ha. on 1991 to 665,055 ha. on 2002, and on the number of processors, which in this same period have increased from 396 to 17,725.

Future prospects are presented with similar rates of growth in the forecast so it's necessary to lay the basis for a balanced development of the sector, taking into account both the production and consumption as the expected national, EU and global.

Therefore, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, tabled on May 20th, 2003 the Strategic Plan for Organic Agriculture, whose implementation period, covering 2004 to 2006, aims to define the framework for a general discussion on the objectives and actions to be taken by the industry itself, supported by government authorities.

The objectives and actions proposed are general in nature, to be realized and nuanced, taking into account the circumstances of geographic, sectoral and cyclical.

Also be taken into account the European Action Plan, which is being developed by the European Commission and will feature a final document is expected to end 2003.

On the other hand, will coordinate the specific plans that autonomous regions have launched or can be deployed on short notice.

Budget for the shares will be established taking into account the possibility of funding for certain actions by the Community budget, through the implementation of Regulation (EC) 1257/1999 on support for rural development from the EAGGF budget MAPA, Autonomous Communities and funded by the industry itself.

Current situation of the Sector

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, conscious of the importance of developments in this area, funded a study of market for organic products, which has served to make an analysis and diagnosis to identify the strengths and weaknesses, threats and opportunities, and trends which are identified in the distribution channels and positioning crops and geographical areas.

1. Production

Production sector has great momentum and trend of expansion. In 1991 the area devoted to organic agriculture was 4235 ha. and in 2002 has reached 665,055 ha, an increase of 37% over 2001. Process similar to that followed by the producers, who have gone from 346 to 16,521 (6% on 2001) and working 50 to 1,204 (32% in the last year).

Another key element of organic agriculture in Spain is the great diversity of products covered, the result of the different agricultural sectors, production systems, climates and cultures in our country.

Are covered from pasture, range and fodder (over 197,752 ha, which serve as the basis for the development of organic livestock) to subtropical crops, which are involved 467.66 hectares. Except for the first, cereals, legumes and other crops are the most frequent (32%), followed by Olive (27%), nuts (12%), grapes (5%), and citrus fruit (2%) and vegetables and tubers (1 %).

Farms, whose numbers rose in 2002 to 1776, an increase of 33.8% over the previous year, also show diversity, ranging from beef (48%) of total holdings up beekeeping (4%), past the sheep (25%), poultry (6%), goats (8%) and pigs (5 %).

2. Industry

Industries related to plant production amounted to 1127 in 2002, an increase of 27.6%. Handling and packaging of fresh produce industry is the largest (245 industries under control), followed by wineries and bottling of wines and champagnes (174), mills and / or oil bottle (154), handling and packaging grains (91) and baking and pasta (83). Among the industries related to livestock production, 147 in 2002 (28.9% increase over the previous year), dedicated to highlighting the milk, cheese and dairy products (37) and slaughterhouses and cutting plants (34) and honey (33).

key feature is the consolidation of production. 47% of the area is already classified as organic, while the conversion is 19% and qualified in the first year of practice 34%.

3. Geographic Location

Organic agriculture is present in all regions, adapted, in each case, to the conditions of land, climate and production systems. They all emphasize the qualitative importance of this type of production.

Andalusia is the first

Community total recorded 225,598.74 acres in 200, followed by Extremadura with 164,339.36 hectares. With 66,374 hectares in Aragón, Cataluña 52,345.99 hectares and Castilla - La Mancha 40,873.94 hectares.

For number of producers with 6526 highlights Extremadura, Andalucia with 4024 and Castilla - La Mancha with 1100. While in winemakers, Catalonia is the first European Community, with 262, followed by Andalusia and Valencia 214 to 115.

4. Export

Since the start of the Spanish production has revealed a major export-oriented, primarily due to strong consumer demand Central estimated that 80% of the production are for export.

According to market organic products, only 5.8% of producers export their products directly, while the percentage rises to 44.7 processors.

The average production for EU countries is 89.2%. It is significant that 100% of operators surveyed run their goods to Germany, France and the 62.7% UK 58.8%.

Sector analysis

Among the strengths of the analysis highlights the excellent conditions in Spain, as well as their contribution to maintaining the environment, rural development, increasing the employment rate and the good image of these products enjoyed.

Among the highlights opportunities

The high expectations of consumption, the high degree of extensification of conventional agriculture, the growth of organic livestock and the growing awareness of the farmers.

Finally, among the biggest threats are the jurisdiction of third countries, dependence on export trade, the confusing information on the system of production, business opportunities and the scheme is not accompanied by a Strategic Plan, the latter which is already addressing at this time.

Tendency of consumption and trade channels

On consumption forecasts indicate an annual increase of 15% in 2002-2003.

In distribution, the high interest of hypermarkets and supermarkets for these products is set as a driver, while the high prices, lack of demand and challenge in the case of hypermarkets, labels or agreed by the Highlights brakes.

In specialty stores and Internet portals such as motor power emphasizes the loyalty of consumers and the ability to inform and brake as the lack of demand, seasonality of production and difficulty of building critical mass and ensuring regular purchases in the case of internet.

An important conclusion in the restaurant segment is the limited knowledge of such products.

National strategic objectives of the plan

1. In connection with the production.

Promoting the production, through the empowerment of aid under the Royal Decree 4 / 2001 of January 12th, pursuant to Regulation (EC) 1257/1999 on support for rural development from the European Agricultural Guidance Agricultural and Guarantee (EAGGF).

Drive is the criterion of priority in the AEM program for rural development measures in Spain. This criterion requires that the target of such measures is that the holdings of the applicants practice of sustainable agriculture, without use of synthetic fertilizers and plant protection, and gives prevalence to qualify for the measures to those holdings with organic agriculture are registered the Board or Committee of Organic Agriculture and market their products as organic.

Should prioritize aid to certain sectors and, in principle, are those with a competitive and attractive market, according to the study by the MAPA. In any case take into account the particularities of each sector and region.

According to data compliance with the Rural Development Program in the 2004-2006 period would be devoted to new commitments of aid, approximately 65 million euros, more commitments, which would mean roughly 120 million euros.

Program funds could be released if other measures, such as disadvantaged areas, are funded by the MAPA, increasing the resources allocated to environmental measures. This has already happened in 2001 in which the heading in disadvantaged areas, 78.132 billion euros, it took only the MAPA.

  • Promoting the registration of varieties of seeds.
  • Creation of specific training programs for technical training of trainers.
  • The launching of a pilot course at the National Center for Agricultural Training, in October 2003. Based on that experience four courses will be scheduled annually, with an estimated cost of $ 3,000 per course. The total investment of 36,000 euros in the period 2004-2006.
  • Promoting the creation of a network of specialized technical advice to producers.
  • Encouraging the exchange of experiences between producers, which may include exchanges with other countries. The financing of these costs may be borne by the MAPA.

This will increase the use of new technologies and the Internet, as a 79.48% of operators believes they will have a high or medium impact on the market for organic agriculture.

Increased level of training of employed persons in rural areas by helping the organizations to plan or carry out training activities related to livestock farming and, more specifically for the conversion of farms to organic production.

2. Promotion of transformation and new products.

Promoting the creation and / or modernization of industries for processing of organic products.

Investment financing is carried out as determined by the RD 117/2001 of February 9st, on investment promotion for the improvement of conditions for processing and marketing of agricultural products, forestry and food. In this R.D. are determined as priority investments that are dedicated to developing products with protected designation of quality (DO, GI and TSG) and the like.

Interesting, if necessary, modify the RD, as has been done by RD 326/2003, of March 14th, and which includes the sub-wine as an investment priority. In such an amendment would be included in a clear investment for the processing of organic products.
For the period 2004-2006 the total budget of the MAPA available for operations in the DR 117/2001 amounted to 68.84 million.

  • Creation of training programs in new manufacturing techniques.
  • Dissemination of technologies whose application may derive new products and new presentations.

3. In connection with the marketing:

  • Encouraging the concentration of supply through the creation of joint marketing.
  • Harnessing the positive conditions for market development, differentiating goals and actions for each type of channel.
  • While there are no initiatives from groups or organizations to operate and / or marketers will launch an information campaign and promotion.
  • In this framework will specific consideration information and promotion carried out by distribution companies that have signed cooperation agreements with the MAPA.
  • Improved systems management product imports from third countries.
  • Harmonious development of exports to third countries and sales to other EU countries
  • This section will analyze in detail the opportunities and competitive advantages of our products. This will take account of the study in collaboration with MAPA FIAB bid on Spanish exports of products from organic agriculture.

4. Increased consumer confidence in organic products.

  • Implementation of specific information and training, using different channels and in collaboration with consumer associations.
  • Developing a Communication Plan for Organic Farming.
  • Creating a specific section on the website of the map, with information on organic agriculture.

5. Enhancing control mechanisms.

  • Program to standardize the procedures for monitoring and analysis of the various authorities and agencies.
  • Increased exchange of information between authorities and agencies.
  • Supporting the establishment of new certification bodies and accreditation with ENAC.

6. Impetus for the structuring of the industry.

  • Promoting partnerships, producers, processors and marketers.
  • Facilitating the creation of an inter-in the industry.

7. Increased information on industry statistics, especially data on market volume of imports and exports and domestic consumption.

8. Establishment of training programs and non-regulated, from elementary education to higher education.

Working meetings will be launched with officials of the Ministry of Education and the Autonomous Communities, in order to establish programs in secondary education and vocational education. Also be taken with universities to incorporate modules, specialty or special masters on the subject.

9. Promoting research and development in Organic Agriculture.

Research programs were established in accordance with INIA, the agricultural research institutes of the Autonomous Communities, research centers and universities.

Care is especially related research material player, combating diseases and pests, fertilizer and processing aids.

MAPA plans to spend 600,000 euros per year in 2004-2006 to fund 12 research projects each year.

It will take a special initiative to include in the National R & D a priority for research in organic agriculture and livestock, with the national programs, ensuring that the scientific evaluation of projects performed by qualified personnel in the production method of organic agriculture.

The promotion of research is taken in the processing industry, with the emergence of new products.

It will encourage the collaboration of researchers and operators as a method of effective work.

As a first step in setting out clearly the actions to be taken in this paragraph shall be scheduled a National Conference on Organic Agriculture Research.

10. Creating a Center of Organic Agriculture.

This observatory tasks gathering information, suggestions for training, advice and monitoring the actions of the Strategic Plan.


Organic agriculture in Spain has very good features, which have great impact in the field of all the players in the agrifood chain. For producers it means the possibility of a clear differentiation and the opportunity to raise their incomes and increasing overall employment. For manufacturers and distributors means also create a new line dedicated to this specific type of production and ultimately, for consumers to have a quality range of differentiated products that extend the existing supply in the market.

This meant adjusting to new lines of the CAP, which aims to achieve modern and competitive agricultural model that will ensure sustainable agriculture and quality, with production methods that respect the environment and serving the rural areas, rich traditions and diversity, including economic, social and environmental.

Discussion on the Strategic Plan for Organic Agriculture voice all agricultural organizations, producer associations, processors, marketers, distributors, restaurateurs and consumers. Also important will be the opinion of researchers, educators and institutions dedicated to this task.

It is currently under a special section of the website of the MAPA, which can make their views all those who want them and will be open until September 30th, 2003. From here, I encourage you to submit all comments and contributions as they deem appropriate.

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3 Reviews about Organic Agriculture in Spain: The strategic plan
on 04/10/2014
I will be visiting Spain next year around mid July for my honeymoon, and i was wondering if you knew of any organic farms we could visit to just take a look around, get to know some local farmers, and see how this process works even on the "local market" scale. We'd really like to take a look at an organic Spanish farm and see how things are run.
on 23/07/2014
dear friend how are you ?
we are a Municipality based in senegal west Africa ; we would like to send some peoples of our Municipality to come and do a training in your company .
now we ask you how much to pay for each days of training ?

Best regard

on 04/03/2014
There is no way of figuring out the growth of the organic sector in Spain and in the whole continent, you should see that and then have an idea of the importance of it, an how it helps to not only the buyers but the farmers who struggle with the soil and the lack of resources, but this does not stop them!

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