The Spanish sector of ecological agriculture has been following a growing trend since the 1990s and is currently leading the European ranking with 1,317,752 hectares and 23,473 agents. Ecological agriculture amounts to 4.5% of total agricultural area. The dedicated industrial base has almost multiplied twofold since 2001, and currently includes over 2,600 facilities. For Andalusia, the ecological agricultural sector is particularly important, with 866,799 hectares, 60% of the national total, covering no less than 16% of the region's agricultural area.
According to data supplied by the regional government, the second position is held by the region of Castilla-La Mancha, with 15% of the national total and therefore still very far behind Andalusia. Since 2009, the area dedicated to ecological agriculture in Andalusia has grown by 10.55%, and the number of agents involved by 3.93%.
In 2010, and in order to supplement previous support policies for ecological agriculture and stockbreeding, the Consejería de Agricultura y Pesca introduced a yearly grant programme. This legal change will direct a larger proportion of public funds towards ecological production, which will have its own chapter in the budget.
It is important to highlight that three of the member universities (UNIA, UCO and UPO) offer several post-graduate programmes in agroecology and sustainable rural development. After more than ten years, these programmes are fully consolidated. This post-graduate offer has been enlarged even further with the creation of the new Master's Programme in Ecological Agriculture, Stock-breeding and Silviculture (UNIA and UPO).
Additionally, the relevant CSIC centres include the Instituto de la Grasa, a referential research institution specialising in the properties of olive oil which is currently building new facilities at the UPO, the Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible, the Estación Experimental del Zaidín, the Estación Experimental La Mayora and the Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología.
CEI CamBio News