War Economy, A Trip To The Pantry Of Europe

In times of crisis, what is really important for the human being is revealed. The objective turns towards the field, where the most essential thing for survival comes from: food.
War economy, a trip to the pantry of Europe

Probably since the 40s there is no memory in Western Europe of such concern and suspicion towards those places in charge of providing us with what fills our pantries. It is something similar to what happens in countries with a war economy.

For this reason, the health and economic crisis that is shaking us has made us value, by force, the importance that agricultural activities have for survival.

The incessant industrial revolution in which most of the societies find themselves has made us believe that without it the economy is paralyzed and life ends. But this health turbulence is helping to reconsider and look towards the countryside, which is one of the few machinery that continues to work without quarter.

From our homes we are not able to see the reality of that agricultural rearguard, but we are able to value their inestimable effort. In fact, within the countries of the European Union, the agricultural sector has great weight and prominence in Spain, since it has traditionally been considered as the pantry of Europe.

Today we want to take a virtual trip through the Spanish countryside and show you its wealth, as well as the resources offered by agricultural and livestock factories, especially in times of war economy.

Agriculture, the basis of the war economy

Olive field

The agricultural structure of Spain has changed substantially compared to past times. This has been disconnected to a certain extent from its location constraints. However, the bases have been present throughout the territory for centuries.

If we travel to either of the two plateaus, we will realize that cereal production continues to cover a good part of the extensive inland farms. Here the main agricultural resources are herbaceous such as wheat and rice for human consumption. On the other hand, barley, corn and rye are used in the preparation of compound feed for animals.

Greater tradition if possible presents the location of the olive tree in much of the southern half of Spain. This plays a very important role in the production of quality oil, placing 43% of the surface area dedicated to olive groves in provinces such as Jaén.

Something similar happens with the vine, which is widely spread in regions such as Castilla-La Mancha and La Rioja. Most of its production is oriented to the production of wine and, to a lesser extent, to the fresh consumption of its fruit, the grape.

However, the crop that has experienced the greatest growth and transformation is fruit and vegetables. Its production area is very diverse, although it concentrates higher percentages on the Mediterranean coast.

Vegetable and fruit crops have gained a lot of weight in the human diet, increasingly concerned with having a balanced diet. Vegetables, outdoors or in greenhouses, are grown in coastal irrigated areas and near the main urban consumption centers. Instead, the fruit trees are distributed throughout the irrigated inland valleys and on the sunny Mediterranean coasts.

Livestock in the war economy

Livestock exploitation

The livestock sector has undergone profound transformations compared to past times. This has increased production, specialized and incorporated technical advances that have enhanced its structure.

As a general rule, the further north, the greater the livestock contribution and the further south, the greater the agricultural participation. For this reason, we now travel mainly to the northern half of the country. In fact, communities such as Galicia, Asturias, Aragon and Catalonia represent the highest percentages of livestock production in Spain.

Bovine livestock is mainly dedicated to the production of milk and meat. Competitive dairy cattle predominate in northern Spain, where there are natural pastures. On the other hand, beef cattle settle in western meadows, in mountain areas and near urban centers, yes, here in an intensive regime.

On the contrary, sheep are found in the interior drylands. Its production is mainly oriented to the production of cheeses, given its high demand in the market.

The star of Spanish livestock is represented by the pig and its location ranges between the pastures of the western peninsula dedicated to quality production (Iberian pig) and the intensive with high percentages in Catalonia, Murcia and a good part of the Ebro valley.

Last but not least, we have poultry farming for the production of meat and eggs. This is located mainly in Castilla y León, Catalonia and Aragon. As a curiosity, meat production is lower than consumption made in Spain, which requires importing. Instead, egg production allows exports.

Eternal gratitude to the Spanish countryside

Wheat field, base of the war economy

Without a doubt, the Spanish countryside is diverse, all thanks to the great variety of landscapes and natural resources existing in its territory. It is also thanks to the diversity of civilizations that have passed through its lands, leaving and contributing various techniques and activities. It could be said that it is a country rich in what is essential, in what is really necessary for survival.

The health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19 has taught us something: that any machinery can stop its production, any job can slow down its activity, but the field and its work must continue, like the soldier, at the forefront of the battle.

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