Broccoli production in Murcia has increased twelvefold since its introduction
Broccoli is the third largest export crop in the Region of Murcia
Murcia is known as the “vegetable garden of Spain” and is an important agricultural área, producing winter salad crops for export including lettuce, spinach and baby leaf salads, summer salad crops including tomatoes, peppers and aubergines, summer fruits including melons and watermelons and winter vegetable crops, artichokes and broccoli being amongst the most important.
Broccoli is becoming an increasingly popular and successful crop, and a statement from the agricultural department this week says that the volume of land dedicated to growing broccoli in the Murcia Region has increased twelve fold from 33 years ago when the crop was first introduced. Since 1980, the area used for growing this crop has increased from 878 hectares to 10,781 hectares. Of these, 7516 hectares are in Valle del Guadalentín, which represents almost 70% of the total grown in the Region.
According to the Director General of the Industria Agroalimentaria y Capacitación Agraria de la Comunidad Autónomo, “currently acreage given over to broccoli is the second largest in the Region, with lettuce occupying the most space.”
In addition, production of broccoli is the third largest agricultural activity, after lettuce and lemons, with a higher value in exports.
The agricultural department of the region have just concluded a long-term series of tests, trialling 33 different cultivars over a 10 year period, assessing the best varieties for use in the different agricultural zones of the region, the Guadalentin Valley proving particularly successful.
Part of the recent trials concluded also involved assessment of the use of nitrates and fertilisers, the challenge being to find ways of using less chemicals in áreas of special environmental susceptability or which could be affected by over use of chemicals.
The Consejería said in its report that the trials had shown that broccoli was proving a more lucrative crop for agriculturalists than some of the other crops traditionally grown and created better export opportunities for growers.
By products of broccoli cultivation are also used in other forms of agriculture, a field of broccoli left-overs proving a welcome source of food for shepherds, sheep having the ability to reduce a field full of leaves to a sea of bare sticks in a very short time.
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