Almeria's greenhouse growers are making a slight shift towards a different greenhouse design. For decades, the growers in the south of Spain have been known as dedicated users of the traditional parral greenhouse design. But nowadays there are some large expansions and projects that are making use of multi tunnel greenhouses.
If you have ever been in one of the greenhouse areas that surrounds Almeria, you can't have missed the traditional parral greenhouses; low plastic greenhouses that are built similar to a tent. Often wooden or steel poles are used and the plastic is 'sandwiched' between two layers of metal wire netting.
A traditional Parral greenhouse in Almeria
Later models of these parral greenhouses are equipped with automated and manual vents. The biggest advantage of this type of structure is the price; it's a relatively cheap house. But as the growers are consolidating and achieving better prices, more growers have money available to invest in better structures, to achieve better quality and provide improved protection for their crops.
Most of these new projects with the more advanced multi tunnel houses are being completed in and around Nijar; an area east of Almeria that has more open land available, and where larger projects can be built. In most cases tomatoes are grown here.
One of the growers in this area that is growing in modern greenhouses is Bio-Campojoima, an biodynamic organic greenhouse grower. The investment that this grower made in a modern multi tunnel greenhouse did not only realize improved quality during the winter season. It also allows the grower to grow a crop during the harsh and hot summer months, thanks to installation of a fog system and insulated walls.
So who knows what this trend towards more modern technology will bring? If more growers invest in this technology, a shift in production schemes might threaten the production schemes of other European growers.