Solar greenhouses in southern Europe are major generators of stable jobs

The Spanish solar greenhouse sector, based mainly in the provinces of Almería and Granada, generates a total of 110,000 jobs; or 24.8% of Andalusian agricultural employment. Of this number, 78,000 workers are employed in agricultural holdings (cultivation, irrigation, harvesting, etc.), 24,000 in marketing companies (handling and distribution) and 8,000 in auxiliary agricultural companies (seed companies, seed manufacturers, etc.). plastics, packaging and agricultural machinery, biological control, environmental control, etc.). This is what reveals the “Analysis of employment in solar greenhouses” carried out within the framework of the European program Cutesolar: cultivating the taste of Europe in solar greenhouses.

An important characteristic of solar greenhouses is their ability to generate stable employment. Of all the workers employed in greenhouses (78,000), 68% are permanent employees.

Family farming model
Contrary to what is often thought, the area of ​​greenhouses in these provinces is mostly owned by small family businesses that help generate cohesive economic activity that fosters entrepreneurship, cooperation, equality and a commitment to protect. natural resources and the environment. Concretely, the 36,000 hectares of greenhouses are managed by 14,500 families, with an average of 2.3 hectares of land per family business.

The business environment chosen by the owners is based either on an associative or cooperative system (cooperative societies and agricultural processing companies, SAT) or on local marketing companies (such as alhóndigas or auctions). Currently, 62% of the marketing of fruits and vegetables in Almeria is carried out by social economy entities. Both models guarantee optimal market access, as they ensure a better position in the supply chain and facilitate financing, technical advice and access to technology.

Example of immigrant integration
This industry is an example of the integration of immigrants in agriculture. In fact, 65% of agricultural workers in the last campaign were foreigners (up to 140 nationalities); a figure which quadruple the regional average and almost triples the national average. According to data from the Argos Observatory of the Andalusian Employment Service, Morocco, Romania and Senegal provide the largest number of workers in greenhouses in southern Spain.

Growing presence of women
In recent years, we have witnessed an evolution of the role of women in this sector, which has become much more active, relevant and numerous. Of the 110,000 workers in the sector, around 41% are women, of whom 30% work in agricultural tasks on farms, 70% in marketing companies at all levels and 30% in technical consulting positions or training. higher is required.

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