The transformation of the Spanish agro-industry

The Spanish government has allocated 183.6 million euros, including aids and loans, corresponding to the so-called Strategic Project for the Recovery and Economic Transformation of the Agri-food Sector. This is one of the structural axes of the program to distribute NextGenerationEU funds in Spain.


This strategic project (PERTE, for its acronym in Spanish), endowed with 1.8 billion euros, is made up of axis 1, strengthening of the industrial sector; axis 2, digitalization; and axis 3, specific measures to support innovation and research.. It is expected to generate an impact on the Spanish economy of 3 billion euros and a net creation of 15,000-16,000 jobs.

Within its axis 1, which includes actions to support the agro-industry, the government has awarded 183.6 million euros to projects of 233 companies. Of this support, 163.5 million is in the form of subsidies and 20.1 million in the form of loans. According to the Minister of Industry, "to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the agri-food industry, it is necessary to invest in research and innovation, both in new foods and processes, and in improving food safety".

Perte - ejes

The meat sector is moving to apply for NGEU funds

Within meat production and marketing, three of the projects approved will activate more than 120.7 million euros of investment and will benefit 57 companies. Nearly 46% of the companies associated with the projects are SMEs, while three large groups in the national sector lead these initiatives.

The project with the largest expected economic investment is "Meatway", led by Vall Companys. The initiative will receive 17 million euros, of which 12 million will be loans and the remaining five million will come as a subsidy. The total planned investment will be 50.3 million euros.

The "Inno Meat" project, headed by Noel, will receive support worth 6.5 million euros. Its investment amounts to 44.7 million euros. And "Carnity", whose parent company is the Argal group, will receive 14.1 million euros, of a total inversion of 25.7 million euros.

Within the sustainability objectives included in these three projects, 60% of their budget will be dedicated to reducing the effects of climate change. Also noteworthy is their focus on reducing the carbon and water footprints.


The “Flax&Kale” project receives more than 27 million euros

The TCFK Teresa Carles Flax & Kale Group leads a group of 25 companies, under the consortium “From Green to Healthy (FGTH)”, consisting of 30 primary projects, to which the government has allocated 27.6 million euros, including loans and subsidies. The different primary projects integrated in FGTH are grouped through three important value chains, one related to sustainable proteins, another one related to healthy beverages and finally the last one destined to confectionery and desserts.

Among other approved projects, the proposal "Ecofood", led by the AZTI technology center, will receive 31.3 million euros, for "the sustainable, ecological and digital transition of the agri-food chain", while "SmarTZ4milk", focused on the modernization and digitalization of the dairy industry and led by Clusaga, will receive a support of 9.7 million euros.

Ecofood's main challenges include reducing the environmental impact of all the companies in the consortium, promoting greater transparency in traceability and food safety, and modernizing the digitization processes of the companies and their value chains.


"The structure of other strategic projects does not work for the agri-food sector"

The National Association of Agricultural Engineers (ANIA) raises its voice on the way in which the government has configured and awarded the first contributions of the strategic agri-food project. They believe that "the structure of other projects is not suitable for the agri-food sector" since, among other issues, few companies in this sector will benefit from the distribution of NextGenerationEU funds through this program.

The strategic projects for recovery are focused on allocating aid to business clusters made up of large companies with "tractor projects" to which primary projects are associated, where a certain number of SMEs must participate. This structure is valid, according to its president, Prof. María Cruz Díaz, for other sectors but not for the food industry because "it is implemented and organized in a totally different way. There are almost 30,000 companies in the food sector, almost all of them are SMEs that are closely linked to the primary sector and, therefore, to the territory: there is no industry as diverse and dispersed as the food industry", she points out.

The association also wanted to highlight the "very small" allocation of project funds for industrial strengthening, in line with the criticisms made by other players in the sector. "We are the leading manufacturing branch of the industrial sector (142 billion euros in turnover), 22.6% of jobs and 20.4% of value added," said ANIA’s president.


Another of Prof. Diaz's criticisms of the program for distributing European funds is its focus. "It has been limited only to the industry, which generates two fundamental problems: on the one hand, the ability to improve the efficiency of food production, quality and added value by compartmentalizing primary production of its necessary transformation is lost. And on the other hand, it breaks a way to improve the income of farmers and ranchers because, for example, a cooperative can only choose to improve its industrial process and not its primary production process, when they depend on each other". In the same line, she points out that efficiency, traceability, quality and the increase of the added value of the final product "starts in the farm, not at the entrance of the industry dock".

Source: Alimarket

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