Spanish agriculture requires greater economic profitability

Juan G. R.Spanish agriculture requires greater economic profitability.                                             
Water and Irrigation Volume 1, Nº 2: 5-6, 2010 Spain.       

Spanish agriculture has problems in agricultural productivity and profitability, provoked by different causes, the fundamental: the progressive aging of farmers, the size of farm units, low prices received by farmers for agricultural produce, the low wages paid to agricultural workers, so the state must take organizational measures required to make the agriculture a strategic and sustainable sector.

Currently Spain has around 900 000 farms, of which 50% of them have growing units below 10 hectares, about 150 000 farms have growing areas over 30 hectares which constitute 70% of total agricultural area. In 1990, Spain farmland was of 20.2 million hectares of which 17 million were no irrigated and 3.2 million were irrigated, in that year the workforce in agriculture amounted to 2.1 million people.

Today the progressive aging of farmers, increased farm mechanization and the low profitability of the sector, has caused the abandonment of the field and the workforce is reduced to about 800 thousand people and growing areas gradually decrease, dropping by 20 years the dry area and farmers in 3 million hectares and 1.3 million people respectively, in the same period of time a part of irrigation areas were modernized and increased at 200 thousand hectares.

In the past 5 years the agricultural sector has been characterized by low profitability and those producers receive very low prices for its agricultural production, which barely offset the expenses for soil preparation, planting, cultivation, fertilization, irrigation, pest control and harvesting, some crops the harvest is lost because the collection costs greatly exceed the prices of final product.

Since the produce is harvested until it passes to the consumer is manipulated by many intermediaries which causes the product value increases successively and users pay from three to ten times the value of the original product, it is necessary that the state analyze this situation and protect the farmer so that the farms are profitable, to pay adequate wages for the farmer and the agricultural sector get economic benefits, expected to last long this situation agriculture tends to suffer a steady deterioration also affects the purchasing power of the population, the cost of living and harmonious balance of other sectors of the Spanish economy.

Agriculture is a strategic sector in the economy especially in Spain, if you take into account: that the country is a potential tourist to be visited by more than 50 million tourists, the agricultural product is the raw material of food industry and is the product that people consume daily, so the agriculture has a direct impact on other sectors of the economy.

On the other hand if it is analyzed the macro agriculture we find that U.S. is one of the countries that export food to the world and is due to the high agricultural development that has reached as a result of the technology used and the state interest that agriculture is a strategic sector of the country in times of peace or war.

The size of farms in the United States of America generally range from 160 to 200 hectares but there are also smaller and larger farms that these dimensions depending on the characteristics of each States in agricultural development achieved highly influences by: the size farm, using high yielding seeds, proper fertilization, measures of soil conservation, efficient irrigation, a high degree of mechanization of planting, growing and harvesting, a comprehensive fight against weeds , pests and diseases, the use of new forms of organization and production.

In the case of agriculture in Spain is necessary to implement the measures designed to increase the average size of farms to achieve greater technological development in agriculture, establishing the necessary mechanisms to increase productivity, competitiveness and profitability agricultural production, greater stability of agricultural labour, implement new forms of organization and agricultural production, increase agricultural exports.

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