The cultivation of fruits and vegetables groups a great variety of productive models, ranging from the intensive production of vegetables in greenhouse, to the rainfed lands where the fruits of nuts or nuts are produced. The main asset of the Spanish horticultural sector is its high degree of specialization and its capacity to adapt to the demand in both formats and varieties. On the contrary, the main weakness of the sector is the price crisis that many products, especially vegetables and citrus fruits, go through. The area dedicated in Spain to the cultivation of fruits and vegetables as a whole is about 1.5 million hectares, of which 600,000 hectares are nuts and the remaining 921,000 hectares, 38% is for vegetables, 34% To citrus fruit and 28% to non-citrus fruit. These figures include about 75,000 hectares of potato, which is not a vegetable but a tuber. For several years, the evolution of potato and vegetable growing areas has been declining, while fruit production has stabilized. The total production of fruit, vegetables and potatoes in Spain exceeds 30 million tonnes. Of this total production, approximately 54% corresponds to vegetables, 24% to citrus, 11% to non-citrus fruit, 9% to potato and 2% to nuts.

The horticultural production is present in all the autonomous communities, emphasizing Andalusia, Aragon, Catalonia, Castile-La Mancha, Valencian Community, Extremadura and the Region of Murcia. Of all horticultural productions, the main crop in volume of production and in cultivated area is the tomato, for consumption in fresh and preserved. The value of the Spanish production of fruit, vegetables and potatoes in 2014 amounted to 14,445 million euros (in addition to all fruits and vegetables, these data published by the Ministry of Agriculture are also included potatoes and table olives). Of all the subsectors that make up the group, the one that contributed most to the group in 2014 was that of vegetables with 7.140 million euros (in 2013 its contribution rose to 7,614 million euros). Fruits, which were the first subgroup in 2013, contributed 6,907 million euros (in 2013 reached 7,631 million euros) and potatoes 409 million euros, almost half that a year earlier. Spain ranks second in fruit and vegetable production within the European Union (EU), behind Italy. The final value of fruit and vegetable harvests in EU countries exceeds 60,000 million euros. By countries, in addition to Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Holland are the leading producers of fruit and vegetables, with 31% of the total in 2014. Among the fruits, the main European productions are apple 10 Million tons, pear 3 million tons and orange 7 million tons. As for horticultural production, not including potatoes – which alone amount to almost 55 million tonnes, the volume exceeds 60 million tonnes annually, covering a wide variety of crops. Despite the reduction in the sector, about 20% of the total production of vegetables in the European Union corresponds to the harvest of tomatoes and onion and carrot production are also important at the community level.

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Montse Gonzalez