In the 2019-2020 agricultural campaign, the area under plastic in Almeria cultivated with biological control mechanisms has increased by more than 2,000 hectares compared to the previous year. This represents an increase of 8.25 % compared to last season, bringing the total acreage to 24,740 hectares, according to data from the Territorial Delegation of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development.
Since the methyl isophenphs crisis broke out in 2006, this system has emerged as the standard for the province's fruit and vegetable production and now accounts for more than 70% of the greenhouse acreage.
By crops, peppers are the flagship product, with 11,500 hectares; 1,020 hectares more than last season. This means that almost 100% of the pepper acreage features biological control techniques for pest control.
Tomatoes are second in the ranking with 5,300 hectares, compared to last season's 4,200 hectares. This crop has thus recorded a significant 20% increase. In the case of tomatoes, the acreage with biological control represents 60% of the total.
The area under biological control has also increased in the case of cucumbers, from 3,350 hectares in the 2018-2019 campaign to 3,410 hectares this season. This represents an increase of almost 2%, with 70% of the crop's total area already featuring biological control.
In the case of eggplant, the acreage has increased, but more slowly. The total acreage with biological control amounts to 1,620 hectares, which is only 10 hectares more than last season (almost 1% more). In this case, the area under biological control represents 73% of the total.
In the case of zucchini, the area has also increased slightly, with 1,280 hectares expected, compared to 1,250 hectares last season; an increase of 2.3%. The productive acreage under biological control only represents 16% of the total in this case.
Melons and watermelons fall by more than 9%
The melon and watermelon spring crops continue with the downward trend. 530 hectares of melons and 1,050 hectares of watermelons are expected, which is 9.4% and 9.5% less, respectively, than the 2018-2019 campaign.