Against the backdrop of Spain’s desperate economic situation, the organic industry is one source of positive news. However despite its potential, significant barriers to its development remain.
In 2011 Spain was the number one EU Member State concerning the number of hectares dedicated to organic farming. It increased by 11.76% that year and now includes 1,845,039 hectares. Almost all Spanish regions show increases in the area dedicated to this type of farming. The number of organic farmers reached the figure of 32,837, an increase of 18.23% over the previous year. Cereals, with 178,061 hectares, represent the biggest part in terms of cultivated area within the Spanish territory.
Since its beginnings, Spanish organic production has always been export-oriented, mainly due to strong consumer demand from Central European countries. It is estimated that 80% of the production is destined for export, mainly for EU countries (89.2%), especially Germany, France and the UK.
SPANISH TASTES FOR ORGANIC
The average national consumption of organic products is estimated at 35.4 kilos per year which indicates that every Spaniard consumes 35.4 kilos of organic products and spends about €29 euros on that demand. Organic foods now represent 1.9% of the total expenditure on food made by Spanish households (which is an increase in comparison to the 1.7% of the previous year).
At the same time, during the past year, spending on organic products has increased by 6.3%, with an increase of 8.4% in organic vegetables (these figures are particularly important in the context of a decrease of food expenditure of 1.6% for the same period).
The products most in demand are mainly eggs, olive oil, vegetables and fruits. Interestingly enough (in comparison to other EU countries), in Spain we can therefore observe that organic or ecological products are mainly seen as vegetarian food, since organic meat or animal products are rarely or not available in most organic shops (they are mostly distributed via Internet from farms in the northern parts of the country), and due to its scarce distribution they are quite expensive.
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