El Ejido, land of farmers

It is well known that agriculture is the cornerstone of the town’s economic system, the sector that has made the greatest contribution to its growth in every facet of life, becoming part of the history, present and future of a town which has achieved greatness through the hard work and effort of its people and the prosperity of a land that has managed to make good use of the resources available, a mean annual temperature of 21 degrees and over 3000 hours of sunshine per year, to produce our fruit and vegetables with the support of the environment, by natural means and seeking excellence. It has gone from accommodating a system of life based on rain-fed cultivation to become the largest exporter of fruit and vegetables in the whole of Europe, with an average of 1.3 million tonnes per year, which represents 60% of the province’s total production.

 

El Ejido Gourmet Quality

In the forefront

This family-based model of agriculture has led to the creation of a major business and industrial network around it, generating employment and wealth. For example, El Ejido is currently one of the towns with the lowest rates of unemployment in Spain. This agriculture, moreover, has established support industries around it capable of providing solutions and contributing innovations, on a constant basis, to guarantee the quality of the products to the most demanding consumers, and one can therefore speak of agriculture in the forefront, highly competitive and with the latest technologies and growing techniques available, capable of optimising the use of natural resources to the full with the utmost respect for the environment.

 

Over 12,000 hectares of protected crops

Agriculture has therefore become a fundamental mainstay currently supporting more than 8000 farmers in El Ejido with nearly 12,600 hectares of greenhouses under cultivation, primarily devoted to producing peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines, watermelons, melons and beans and accounting for 52% of the town’s total municipal area. The meticulous care and respect with which the farmers cultivate their crops have made El Ejido’s production system one of the most widely admired in Europe’s channels of communication. It is an agricultural model that extends to the whole province and occupies the leading places in the regional and national rankings for socio-economic indicators.

But perhaps the crucial point that makes El Ejido’s model stand out from the rest is its farmers’ constant concern to progress, innovate and improve, not only to be up to the standard of the most demanding markets but to become a mainstay for the future.

Research and Development

Nowadays we have a sector with great scientific and research potential, faithfully reflecting the dynamism and capacity to adapt that have always been the hallmark of our agriculture. Far from being left behind, it has made research its best ally in adapting to the demands of international markets, as well as to achieve that excellence demanded today by worldwide consumers and the top chefs in the world of haute cuisine.

It is an issue that our farmers have historically addressed by optimising natural resources and such a precious asset as water to the utmost, as well as catering to new preferences in cuisine by producing new varieties in both fruit and vegetables, such as snack, spicy, cherry, seedless watermelons or processed foods that facilitate consumption of these vegetables.

All this is based on that trend and predilection among consumers for taking care of themselves and eating ecological, healthy and environmentally-friendly products, which have made the “Mediterranean Diet” a philosophy of life. That is why we are committed to this El Ejido Gourmet Quality brand and seal of quality, with which we aim to project our sector as a benchmark of that valuable cultural heritage we proudly possess and of the Mediterranean Diet recognised as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Ejido Gourmet. Agricultura sostenible

An example of respect for the environment and sustainability

Equally, it is important to remember the effort being made both by the sector and by the municipal authority itself to lay the groundwork for contributing to the creation of an increasingly sustainable ecosystem and model. That is why great steps have been taken to tackle the new environmental challenges, with a commitment to developing a circular economy, in line with what sustainability, as supported by the European Union, has to be.

Another key facet which has led to continuing gains in competitiveness is the improvement of the whole network of rural roads and tracks, which, at over 600 kilometres, represents an entire communication system along which thousands of farmers travel every day to the production facilities. That is why the local authority has placed special emphasis on improving and adapting these roads by implementing what has been the 1st Municipal Road Repair Plan and has involved devoting over 7 million euros to the programme, the largest investment in this field made in the town to date.

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