Brussels, 25 October 2007
The Spanish framework for Rural
Country profile for Spain
- Size: 504 411 km²
- Population: 44, 5 millions inhabitants (density: 88 inhabitants/km²)
- GDP per capita: 19 480 € (average years 2000-2002; source: national
strategy plan for rural development)
- Rural areas cover 91.3 % of the Spanish territory and about 31% of the
population live in these areas. The Spanish situation is characterized by
important territorial discrepancies, mainly between the interior and the coastal
areas in matters such as population density, income and unemployment rate.
- Globally speaking, about 50 % of the total surface area of Spain is utilised
as agricultural land (25.2 million ha) and 10.47 million ha are covered by
forests (of which 81.6 % are private owned). Concerning the agricultural land,
about 50% corresponds to labour lands, 17% is dedicated to permanent crops and
the rest is permanent grass. 79% of agriculture land is included in Less
Favoured Areas. Around 15% of agricultural land is irrigated and consumes around
75% of total Spanish water consumption.
- Almost 0.95 million people are employed in 1.140.730 agricultural holdings
(998 000 work units), with a high share of farms (68.4 %) managed by full
time farmers. The average size of the agricultural holdings is 22.1 ha,
with big farms mainly in the centre and south of the country, and on the other
side relatively small farms in the North part of Spain. While 55% of the
holdings use 5% of the agricultural land, the 8.7 % of the holdings occupy the
69.1 % of the agricultural land. The value of the output of Spanish agriculture
amounts to about 26 billion € including forestry. Thereby the
sector contributes about 3.32 % to the total gross value added produced in Spain
(food industry: 4.5%)
- The population working in agriculture has a low degree of training (lower
than the EU-27 average) and more than 50% of farmers are aged more than 55.
- Stopping rural depopulation is the biggest challenge for the Spain. A large
part of the territory suffers from problems of depopulation due to poor living
conditions resulting from topography, climate or scarcity of water, among other
causes. The primary sector (agriculture, hunting and forestry) constitutes the
main source for maintaining population and employment in the rural areas.
- The diversity of natural resources and landscapes (wet in the North and
dryer in the South) can also be seen as an important asset. 24.5% of the
territory has been classified as Natura 2000 areas including forest areas, and
the preservation of the endangered biodiversity is seen as a very important
Chosen strategy corresponding to the
Due to its structure, Spain implements the rural development policy through
rural development programmes (RDP) established at regional level by the
Autonomous Communities. In this respect, 17 regional programmes, and 2
horizontal programmes related to the national framework and the rural network
are to be submitted to the Commission's services.
Spain has submitted a national framework containing common elements of these
regional programmes (Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 of 20 September 2005,
Article 15(3). This programme includes 6 horizontal compulsory measures (4 in
axis I and 2 in axis II):
- Management of water resources/other rural infrastructures
- Increase in the added value of agricultural and forest products
- Start-up of advice services to the farms
- Installation of young farmers
- Mitigation of desertification -Prevention of forest fires
- Natura 2000 in the forest environment.
plus a certain number of
common elements and the creation of a Management Committee. Hence, the approval
of this document by the Commission is a pre-condition for the approval of the
Spanish regional programmes.
The National Framework constitutes an important overarching instrument which
contributes to the implementation of the Spanish national strategy plan, of
which main objectives, in compliance with the Community strategic guidelines,
- to fight against depopulation of rural areas by strengthening the
competitiveness of the agriculture and forestry sector.
- to improve the environment and the countryside;
- to maintain and to improve quality of life, diversification of rural economy
and building local capacity.
For these measures, when implemented
according to the national framework, regional rural development programmes may
only contain additional information in respect of the six horizontal measures,
provided that information contained jointly under national framework and
regional programmes complies with the requirements of Annex II to the Commission
Regulation (EC) No 1974/2006 of 15 December 2006.
However, the Regional RDPs, with their indicative financial plans, and
not the National Framework, will be the basis for co-financing from the EAFRD
Budget for Spain
Total: € 13 814 062 684 (adding national aids € 15 800 192 832)
of which EAFRD support
amounts to € 7 213 917 799 € (Convergence regions: € 4 943 643
 EAFRD: European
Agricultural Fund for Rural Development