Bio products gain ground in the shopping cart

Booming. Although the area to grow organic products declined last year, consumption, number of industries and operators in Andalusia increased.

Andalusia has an enormous potential in organic production. It is the leading producer in Europe. Half of the surface with this label in Spain is Andalusian. And, in addition, the sector is in luck because the consumer, finally, looks for bio products for the shopping cart even though they are more expensive than the conventional ones. And not just outside of Spain.

For two years, the consumption of these products in Spain has risen (by 24.5 percent in 2015), but domestic consumption in Andalusia grows more slowly than in Madrid or Barcelona. In addition, the sector is blunt: the distribution channels need to be improved in order for the bio to reach as many households as possible.

However, the numbers confirm this boom: the number of industries grew 20.3 percent in 2016 over the previous year, reaching 1,782. And the number of operators – that is, producers, processors, importers and traders – also increased by 5.5 percent, to 14,279.

Andalusia, with about one million hectares and more than 660,000 head of cattle, is at the head of this productive model, representing 51 percent of the ecological surface of Spain. Of every one hundred hectares of cultivation in Spain, nine are ecological. In Andalusia, of every hundred, 17 have that green seal.

However, the Andalusian community accounts for only about 30 percent of the value of this type of production. The truth is that it is a very atomized sector where the eco-entrepreneur who needs an impulse to make himself known and who, nevertheless, stands out in a conventional food sector is quite obsolete.

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, last year increased the areas of almost all crops, especially vegetables and tubers, with an increase of 35.67 percent, that is, 2,325 more hectares ; Citrus fruits (29.1 percent and 1,457 more hectares), nuts (14 percent and 6,463 hectares) and subtropical (17.9 percent and 186 hectares). However, it fell by 71.56 percent (50,169 ha less) of forest and wild harvest, as well as decreased land devoted to vine (-81 percent) and pasture, grassland and forage (-0, 91). In total, the area of ​​ecological in Andalusia decreased in 2016 from the previous year by 3.43 percent with 34.672 hectares less. However, this fact does not tarnish the good results of the sector, with more demand, more industries and more operators.

In Spain, almost two million hectares of land are already dedicated to organic farming. Andalusia leads this production and is the main producer in Europe, so this situation has given rise to many large companies start to market organic products, as is the case of Carrefour, Lidl and Aldi, which in the United States already has 80 per Cent of its products with the eco-label.

Autor entrada: Francisco Camacho