The acting Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, has highlighted the great economic, social and environmental importance of the Spanish agri-food industry, which provides a turnover of 107,000 million euros per year, a figure that places Spain in the fifth community post after France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.
A sector, he added, that has a positive trade balance and continued growth in exports that reach 31,000 million euros. Good data that, for the minister, are a source of pride, but without falling into complacency in the face of future challenges.
Planas, which has participated today in the inauguration of the seventh edition of the "Food and Drink Summit" that organizes the Spanish Federation of Food and Beverage Industries (FIAB), has also highlighted the social impact of the food sector in Spain, which generates nearly half a million jobs, and the territorial importance of the food industry, since companies are usually located in rural areas, close to commodities which contributes to the necessary rural-urban balance and to stop depopulation.
Challenges for the future
Looking ahead, the minister has highlighted some aspects of great interest to the sector, such as environmental and climate responsibility, social responsibility, innovation, integration and cooperation, as well as internationalization and promotion.
In the field of environmental and climate sustainability, Planas recalled that in recent decades there are many companies that have invested in improving the environmental impact on their production processes. In this area, Planas has highlighted the relevance of the "Program for the Integral Sustainability of the Agri-Food Industry", designed by the Ministry, which contemplates the establishment of standardization systems for the integral sustainability of companies. In this line, he has encouraged companies to adhere to the Decalogue of Integral Sustainability of the Food Industry.
Another point that the minister has highlighted has been the relationship between food and health. In this regard, he highlighted the work of Spanish agri-food companies, which are pioneers and innovators when it comes to producing increasingly healthy food.
Within the framework of social responsibility, it has urged the sector to ensure the maintenance of employment and its quality, as well as its adaptation to new changes, providing workers with the necessary qualification that modernization of companies entails.
Innovation and internationalization
The minister has encouraged companies to continue adding value to production, not only in products and production processes, but in the way to put them in the market, taking advantage of the advantages offered by new technologies to promote a global production model, that includes all the stages from the field to the table.
He also referred to the need to guarantee the presence of Spanish products in international markets as a guarantee for the future, emphasizing the importance of opening markets in third countries, where the great demographic growth expected until 2050 will develop.
Planas has valued the work of FIAB companies in the search for new markets and in alliances with cross-border partners and explained that the Government will continue working to expand markets and promote Spanish agri-food products abroad, within the policy strategic area called "Global Spain".
The Food Strategy of Spain has also been highlighted, launched by the Ministry to connect Spanish food with other sectors such as sports, gastronomy, culture, fashion, tourism, the environment and health, and contributes to the projection of our gastronomic offer.
Likewise, it has defined the digital transformation of the agri-food sector as fundamental. In this line, he has reiterated the usefulness of Digitization strategy for the agri-food and forestry sector and the rural environment, which drives the Ministry as a roadmap and contribution to this transformation process.