Spain loses a quarter of farms in ten years
In ten years, Spain has lost 2.4 million hectares of agricultural land. Figures presented in Spain’s Congress of Deputies at the end of April show that the regions of Valencia and Andalusia in the south, and Galicia in the north, have suffered the highest rates of farm abandonment.
As with other European countries, Spain has seen a consolidation of land into bigger farms, with 0.44% of farms accounting for 17% of the farmed land. Farm union COAG said this shows the dominance of “Landlordism” in Spanish agriculture.
A number of farm organisations, working with the journal of Food Sovereignty, Biodiversity and Farming, made a presentation to lawmakers in the Congress on April 28, pushing for the development of “a policy of fair and sustainable land use in Spain and Europe”, which the campaigners hope will ease pressures that are leading to farm abandonment in Spain, and compounding poverty in rural areas.
They warned that “The ownership of land in Europe has become so unequal that in some regions levels are nearing levels of consolidation seen in Brazil and Colombia,” two countries known for their unequal distribution of land.
Campaigners said that, at the EU level, 3% of farms control 50% of the agricultural area.
The farmers and campaigners calling for a policy to govern land-use in Madrid also pointed to the inequalities in land ownership: Only 23% of landowners in Spain are women (although in some regions such as Galicia the percentage rises to 47%) and young people only own 6.6% of land. ■