The use of intensive high-yield agricultural systems has proved to be a feasible alternative to traditional systems as they able to meet the objective of guaranteeing long-term sustainability in the supply of food. In order to implement these systems, it is necessary to replace the traditional model of 'extract-use-consume-dispose' with a model based on the principles of the Circular Economy (CE), optimizing the use of resources and minimizing the generation of waste.
Almería has become a paradigm of this type of high-yield agricultural system, with the largest concentration of greenhouses in the world. This study analyses the opportunities that the CE can offer the intensive agriculture sector in Almería in order to obtain long-term sustainability. The results show a wide variety of alternatives, both on an agricultural exploitation level and in the case of the product packaging and wholesale centers.
The priority areas of action are waste management, the prevention of product waste and the improvement in the efficiency of the use of water and energy. The principal limitations for adopting circular practices are the large investment required, the limited transfer of knowledge between the different users and the lack of sufficient support from the government and the sector.