The agri-food sector is the economic sector that includes agriculture and the industrial and commercial activities related to it. It includes the production, preparation, processing, transformation, packaging and preservation of food.
Currently, agri-food is the most important sector of the Spanish industry. It is a relevant sector that generates stable employment and is well connected to foreign markets. Thus, the sector employs more than 4 million workers in Europe, with Spain being the fifth most important country in this sector with 400,000 jobs: 3% of the national GDP and more than 100,000 million euros in turnover. Therefore, the investment opportunities in this sector are diverse in every respect.
Castilla-La Mancha has great potential in the agri-food sector and is a leader, accounting for 7% of the total Spanish industry. The region is characterized by different products, specially in agriculture, livestock and processed, in which Castilla-La Mancha has a great specialization and has become a national leader. In fact, 12 of the 20 largest companies in the region belong to the agri-food industry.
Castilla-La Mancha, a safe bet
The agri-food industry is the first industrial sector of the region. Castilla-La Mancha plays a leading role in the industry, especially in wine, olive oil, meat and dairy products. The region offers excellent conditions for related service industries due to its proximity to Madrid and Andalusia, the largest consumption and production centers in Spain.
Currently, the government of the region, through IRIAF (Regional Institute for Research and Development in Agriculture and Forestry), is focusing on R&D&I to ensure food supply at a global level, improve yields, reduce production losses due to natural factors (climate, pests, diseases) and increase the efficiency of the agri-food chain from production to marketing, especially reducing waste and promoting the circular economy.
In addition, the research areas in which IRIAF is active offer interesting investment opportunities. They highlight investments in the food industry, food preservation and shelf life, the introduction of new packaging and presentations adapted to each market, the innovation of new products adapted to different needs and groups (low-salt, lactose-free, gluten-free, with calcium, omega3…), as well as functional foods, nutraceuticals and bioactive substances.
In addition, there is a strong value proposition based on everything related to bioeconomy and circular economy, the recovery of natural molecules with high added value (dyes, antioxidants, microbicides, pesticides, fibers, proteins, vitamins, oils…) and the conversion of waste from previous extractions into bioproducts (biolubricants, biofuels, biomass).
For all these reasons, Castilla-La Mancha offers great advantages for investment in agricultural activities in the region. These include:
- Climate and soil that are very favorable for agricultural activities.
- A mature and important local market with export capacity.
- High quality and competitiveness of agricultural and livestock production in the region, which is environmentally and ecologically sustainable.
- There are more than 2,300 locally active companies, including some international leaders.
- Agricultural production is of high quality and serves as raw material for the agri-food industry.
- The region has a high degree of specialization in this sector. In addition, Castilla-La Mancha has numerous designations of origin, quality labels or protected geographical indications for agricultural and food products.
- Large forest area: there is wood, paper, cork and biomass.
It offers a wide variety of regional investment incentives, which are explained in the Focal Program. The aim of this program is to support agri-food companies that want to increase their added value by investing in the processing and/or marketing of products.
Success stories in this sector
In the region, there are several success stories in this sector. Among them, we can highlight the following: Cárnicas Tello, Grupo SADA, Pernord Ricard, Hypor España, OSI Food Solutions, Sánchez Alcaraz, Incarlopsa, Lactalis Nestlé or Schreiber Foods.