ORGANIC AGRICULTURE IN ANDALUCÍA
Out of the whole of Europe, organic growers in Andalucía are especially favoured for developing sustainable agriculture. Andalucía with its forests and mountains could, with inspired management and a mix of idealism and practicality, lead the way into the 21st century without having had to suffer too many of the ravages of the 20th.
Andalucía has a rich agricultural tradition which has greatly influenced the region's culture and landscape. The importance of agriculture in the present-day Andalucían economy creates an ideal opportunity for the development of organic agriculture. This is being taken up by the agricultural sector thanks to the educational programmes and technical support of the Comité Andaluz de Agricultura Ecológica, which is the governing body for organic agriculture in Andalucía.
Andalucía's climate is ideal for growing a huge range of produce, from subtropical on the coasts through dry continental inland to northern temperate in mountainous areas. The overall ruggedness of the terrain has prevented large-scale chemical exploitation typical of conventional agriculture. Instead, huge areas of Mediterranean forests are exploited sustainably for cork, charcoal, olives and acorns using centuries-old practices. Extensive arable and livestock farming and intensive smallholding alike use traditional methods from which the techniques now called "organic" have evolved.
In the last five years the sector has been strengthened by the E. U. grants for organic agriculture, with ever-increasing numbers of registered organic exploitations. The area of land farmed organically has increased from just over 2,000 Has. in 1992 to 70,872 Has. in 2001.
WHAT MAKES ANDALUCÍAN
ORGANIC AGRICULTURE UNIQUE?
Andalucía is unique within Europe for the diversity of its agricultural production.
The most important crop in terms of revenue and area cultivated are olives for olive oil, with new cooperatives dedicated entirely to organic production and processing of the olives into oil. The province of Córdoba is the leader in the field, with over 14,000 has. of organic olive groves for olive oil production.
Other tree crops are no less important, as Andalucía is the only area in Europe where subtropical fruits can be grown (mango, avocado and custard apple are economically the most important), not to mention the sizeable citrus industry. Most of the organic production of subtropical and citrus fruit is exported to markets in northern Europe, where it obtains premium prices, although at long last the national market for organic produce is coalescing.
The mild coastal climate has favoured the horticultural sector which provides Europe with out-of-season vegetables, and is economically the most important agrarian sector in Andalucía. Increasing numbers of horticultural exploitations, both open-air and under plastic, are converting to organic agriculture in response to increased demand, using modern techniques of biological pest control.
The region is also famous for its livestock: black Iberian pigs are raised at liberty in oak forests ("cork & pork"), in the ultimate traditional / organic low-impact agricultural system, giving us gourmet dry-cured jamon and spicy sausages (chorizo). The rolling interior mountains are home to flocks of goats and sheep; goats roam on the rough mountain land, browsing on the mediterranean scrub, while the sheep can be grazed on pasture under olive trees, in a perfectly-integrated system.
The rolling and fertile land of the Guadalquivir valley is perfect for extensive crops: wheat, pulses, and sunflowers; in recent years irrigation schemes have expanded leading to an increase in production of higher-value crops such as cotton, garlic, rice and asparagus. Organic techniques are slowly being taken up by this sector, more due to problems of marketing than technical reasons.
Wine-lovers know it as the home of Europe's finest white wines: sherry, manzanilla, Montilla and sweet Málaga wine. Organic wine production is still in its early days here, but the dry climate is very favourable as it decreases the incidence of fungal problems. The long hot growing season favours a high percentage of sugar in the grapes, giving strong and fruity wines with low acidity.
We offer the opportunity to get an inside view of agriculture in Andalucía with our agricultural visits and tours.
Associations of Organic Agriculture in Andalucía
Aula de AE de Sevilla, Escuela UIT Agrícola, Cortijo del Cuarto s/n, 41014 Sevilla.
tel:95 469 0750. fax: 95 469 31 14. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Asociación para el desarrollo de la Sierra de Segura, Colectivo ecologista Segura Verde / CODA, c/ Mayor s/n, 23370 Orcera, (Jaén).
tel: 953 48 21 31/85. fax: 953 48 21 31. e-mail: email@example.com . http://www.arrakis.es/~segura .
Publications of Organic Agriculture in Spain
Revista HUMUS, Aula de AE de Sevilla, Escuela UIT Agrícola, Cortijo del Cuarto s/n, 41014 Sevilla.
tel: 954 690750. fax: 954 693114. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
La Fertilidad de la Tierra, Apdo. 10, 31300 Tafalla, Navarra.
tel & ax: 948 703702; e-mail: email@example.com
Plantando, Bernardo Ruiz Figueroa, Apdo. 93, Aracena, Huelva. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Associations of Organic Consumers in Andalucía
Tagarnina, Avda. San Severiano 19, bajo A, 11007 Cádiz.
Almocafre, c/ Sto. Domingo de Guzmán 28, 14009 Córdoba.
tel: 957 27 92 40
El Encinar, c/ Ebro 21, 18007 Granada.
El Manantial, Ayto. de Loja, 18300 Loja (Granada).
Vida Sana Vital, c/ Juan Montilla 30 - 3°izda., 23002 Jaén.
tel: 953 23 11 89.
La Breva, c/ Huerta del Conde 7, 29012 Málaga. tel: 95 222 59 51.
La Ortiga, c/ Procurador 19, 41003 Sevilla. tel: 95 570 01 24.
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