There are an estimated 30,000 hectares of greenhouses in
Almería, southern Spain, the largest concentration in the world. Over 2.7
million tonnes of produce are grown under polythene each year, accounting for
over €1.2 billion in economic activity, and the growth of an associated
complex industrial and service sector.
The diagram below shows the interrelationships between
greenhouse agriculture in Almería and the growing industrial and service
sector. The industrial sector includes a large agrochemical cluster and most of
the world vegetable seed companies have located experimental stations in the
region. Seed production has increased dramatically in the past 25 years, from
approximately 600,000 metric tons in 1975 to 2.7 million metric tons in 1997-98,
with production worth nearly 1,000 million euros in 2002.
Almería: Agribusiness Cluster (Google
The agribusiness cluster has generated a series of external
economies that have reduced production costs, and created an "industrial
atmosphere" to facilitate innovation and the spread of knowledge and
expertise. Almería has become an international reference point for agribusiness
production systems that is increasingly difficult for potential competitors to
Farming in Almería has many of the characteristics of
agribusinesses that operate on an industrial scale.
It is energy-intensive (to pump underground water, for seawater
desalination and to operate complex process monitoring equipment).
It involves a high level of technological development
(computer-controlled fertiliser systems, the development of hydroponics, the use
of selected high productivity seeds etc.).
There is a tendency to standardisation of ranges and qualities
The relative lack of natural resources essential for
agricultural development (water, humidity, soil with a minimum organic content).