I foresee the expansion of the existing companies rather than the creation of others.
It is all about Professionalism and continuity.»
The Almeria ornamental sector occupies around 250 hectares. Just over a hundred are located in the Poniente area (El Ejido, Vícar or La Mojonera), especially under greenhouses. The infrastructures include multi-tunnel greenhouses or similar, highly technical and, especially for small producers, also flat greenhouses derived from the traditional vines, although higher.
Poniente mainly produces Dipladenia, poinsettia, pothos and different flowering and green plants. In the
Levante area (Níjar, Pulpí or San Juan de los Terreros), we find cacti, succulents, palms, shrubs and trees, with a total of 180 hectares in production. Next, Paco Rubio, head of the COEXPHAL Ornamental Plant Section, completes this X-ray of the sector.
“COEXPHAL’s objective is that 100% of the flower and ornamental plant nurseries in Almería and its area of influence in Murcia and Granada form part of the Association”. Currently, it already includes a total of 41 companies and in western Almeria only 20% of the total fails for the moment (data in volume of hectares).
Around a thousand people are employed in the production and marketing of ornamentals from Almería, with certain crops that require a lot of labour, such as Dipladenia, for example.
COEXPHAL since 1977
The Association of Organizations of Producers of Fruit and Vegetables of the province Almería started in 1977. The initial objective: To obtain a quota to be able to export tomatoes to the European Union.
Currently, it has the majority representation of the Almeria agricultural production sector, and its mission is to promote continued and sustainable development of the fruit, vegetable and ornamental sector; provide support services to its associates that streamline management processes; and, lastly, to represent and defend the interests of the associated companies in the different forums and spheres (local, regional, national and European).
There are different areas to serve the growers, among we like to mention:
– LABCOLOR, the COEXPHAL laboratory for R & D, quality control, as well as different tests and services.
– Departments of Training, Communication, edition of a magazine for members (Aenverde);
– In addition to administrative, management, legal services,… and all those related to the defense of the interests of the associates. COEXPHAL is a national provincial association that works jointly with Agrifood Cooperatives.
Permanence and commitment
Ornamental plant producers also find support and advice at COEXPHAL, as well as being able to access all the services. Especially smaller companies ask for help to solve problems related to recent regulations, such as the new taxes on plastic and its recycling, for example.
There is a Technical Committee that in fruit and vegetables has been operating for almost three decades, with different working groups. Implementing it in the ornamental plant sector has been a great help for field technicians when it comes to sharing different problems and finding adequate solutions.
Another interesting aspect for the ornamental sector refers to the investigation at the Cajamar Experimental Station, known as Las Palmerillas. Soil tests are carried out, biological control, use of water, variety tests under different structures,… An interesting case performs the tests with plant surpluses, remains generated during the cultivation of vegetables. As well as, other experiments with rice husk, thinking about its composting and subsequent reuse as a substrate in ornamental nurseries.
At the request of Flormarket Global, Paco Rubio spoke of the future of the ornamental sector in Almeria. In his opinion, the people who started this adventure in the 70s and 80s are still there and now many of the children have also followed their parents. “The sector has become professionalized, without a doubt there is a will to permanence and commitment on their part.”
The sector continues to modernize and invest in new green-houses and improvements in processes, although without great growth. Paco tells us that, in the last six years, “we have not seen the appearance of new producers and, for the future, I foresee the expansion of the existing companies rather than the creation of others: Professionalism and continuity are on the table”.
This artícle has been published before in the international trade magazine Flormarket Global, edition 116- 2023