Spain is the European Union Member State with the most organic land use out of total agricultural land/ hectares of organic land, with a total of 1.621.898 ha (Fibl, 2013). But it hasn´t always been like that. The evolution of the sector has developed over years:
The beginning of organic agriculture (agricultura ecológica in Spanish) comes from the 1970s. During that time, just a few small fields were used for organic farming and were managed by very young farmers. One of the first examples was organic rice production in Murcia.
Although the sector grew in the 1980s, a real increase in production only came in the 1990s. In 1991, there was 4.235 ha of organic fields, rising up to 269.465 ha and 352.164 ha in 1998 and 1999, respectively. Since then, the land used for organic production has doubled.
Most of the products are exported. Spain has optimal climate and soil conditions for a good organic harvest. This fact makes Spain a good agriculture exporter, mainly to Central and the Northern Europe.
The number of organic farmers in Spain is 30.462 (MAGRAMA, 2012), being one of the countries with highest rate of organic farmers in the world. In 2011, the selling of organic food was amounting to 965 million euro (Fibl, 2013).
However, all the facts mentioned refer to the export. Consumers in Spain don’t incorporate organic products in their diets so often. In terms of organic import, manufactured organic products come from different countries in Europe. But in recent years, this situation is changing and consumers, little by little, are getting more and more used to organic products.
Research in organic farming and composting in Spain and sector priorities in Europe, 2004. International Conference Soil and Compost Eco-Biology.
COAG, 2006, De la producción agraria convencional a la ecológica, http://www.coag.org/rep_ficheros_web/a43d2ae5f36685c5ddb47d2ef6143dfd.pdf
ALONSO, A., GONZÁLEZ, M. et GUZMÁN, G., 2007. La agricultura ecológica en España desde una perspectiva agroecológica. Revista Española de Estudios Agrosociales y Pesqueros nº214 http://www.magrama.gob.es/ministerio/pags/Biblioteca/Revistas/pdf_REEAP%2Fr214_2.pdf
FLOREZ, J. 2003 Agricultura ecológica. Manual y guía didáctica. http://www.scribd.com/doc/34015077/Agricultura-ecologica
Fibl, 2013. The world of Organic Agriculture. Statistics and emerging trends