greenhouse fever returns, more newer structures;

Spain: Spectacular increase in sales of greenhouses in Almería

Greenhouse fever has returned to the province of Almería. The money has also returned to the fields and sales transactions of agricultural farms have multiplied. In fact, as has been explained by the sector, there has been a substantial increase in the movement of new plows and the replacement of old facilities by new ones since summer.

Sale ads in specialized portals are more active than ever. There are hundreds of advertisements and claims for all of the agricultural areas of the province.

The biggest increase in activity is taking place, according to Andres Perez, a professional in the field of Almeria, in the Los Atochares and Barranquete areas. New farms with multi-tunnels have also been plowed in Rambla Morales, Retamar and near the Venta del Pobre. Parque Natural, which has just joined the second-degree cooperative Unica Group, is one of the companies that has increased hectares the most, next to the Gata Cape. The company has built greenhouses in twenty new acres near the Highway from Barranquete to Ruescas.

Not only has there been a sales phenomenon but there is also a proliferation of farm rental operations encouraged by the high prices of the last campaign.

Farms that were embargoed and that have been in the hands of banks are being sold at good prices; an opportunity for some farmers wanting to expand acreage.

This increase in activity also extends to areas with more mature and consolidated businesses such as Western Almeria, in the Pampanico and Northern Ejido areas.

The Fervisa company is plowing new farms in Sorbas and in the area of El Argamasón of Carboneras.

The increase in the rehabilitation of old greenhouse structures to modern ones as well as the increase of sales transactions is due to several reasons. The main reason is that the production and marketing of fruit and vegetables has been more profitable than other businesses over the past two seasons.

Another explanation is that the water from the Carboneras desalination plant, which is sent to the fields of Nijar via pipeline, ensures the increase of intensive farming even when production costs are higher than the traditional irrigation wells. According to an analysis of the latest campaign, there are nearly 30,000 hectares of greenhouses in Cajamar, a figure that most likely will be surpassed next year.

The number of workers affiliated to the Special Agricultural Scheme has also increased throughout the last campaign from 44,000 to 47,200.

In recent years, in which sectors such as construction and tourism have been affected by the crisis, Almería has extended its production value by 12% with an average price of 0.71 euro. It is a phenomenon that has caught the investors', who, more than ever, see the field as a safe haven, better than the Ibex, real estate or fast food restaurants, interest. 

Almería has complied with food security regulations, via biological control, and that has resulted in an increasingly consolidated demand from demanding markets such as the German, British or French markets. The feeling in the sector, however, is that agriculture remains a valid means of earning a living but that it's not a way of becoming rich.

One can get ahead with one or two hectares of greenhouse, but rising production costs and the trade margins that intermediaries win hinder the producers' return.


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