What agriculture means for Spain

What agriculture means for Spain


The CEO of Bolschare Agriculture, Pedro Foles, analyses in an article published today in El Economista the importance of the sector in Iberia and the need to highlight the importance of the direct and indirect impact of agriculture in strategic areas.


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Land investment is not a passing fad

In recent years we have witnessed a massive influx of capital into the world of agriculture worldwide.

Buying land, or leasing it on a long-term basis, is only the first step in what we might better call investment in agribusiness rather than in agriculture. If we look only at this first step of investment, the first thing that may come to mind is an idea of inflation in the value of the land itself and in the value of long-term rents, the latter aggravated in the Iberian territory by the "crazy" (I don't know if even headless) proliferation of fields for the production of solar energy.

The increase in land values is undoubtedly more than appreciable, and land values have, in many cases, doubled in the last five years.  If we add to this increase in prices factors such as the war in Ukraine, the increase in inputs, the difficulties in obtaining water guarantees to ensure production, and even the decrease in population growth of the main food importer, China, the increase in transport and processing costs in the face of the endless new media in the food sector, we might wonder why there is such an influx of money into the world of agribusiness?

In contrast to the factors outlined in the previous paragraph, there are many compelling reasons for the growth of the agribusiness sector as a new investment market from a financial point of view.

Land inflation cannot be considered, as other authors claim, as the beginning of a new financial bubble similar to the one experienced in the construction sector. As we have said, the purchase of land is only the first step in a process of agribusiness investment, and much greater efforts are needed to develop and bring the land to yield. Yields that will last for many years and in most cases outlast the duration of the financial vehicles created to invest in the sector. This last fact will be one of the first things the market will have to learn in order to accommodate its rigid and stultified investment structures to a productive sector unlike any other investment niche so far explored by the financial industry.

The second step in making investments in agribusiness profitable and now that the value increases, although growing, is a scarce and "book" value, is the fact of transformation. The financial industry may be flocking to invest in agribusiness, each with a different intention, which we will explain later; but the capacity for transformation, the knowledge to generate an optimal and lasting financial result, resides in the hands of very few actors.

The financial industry is watching its money flow into a sector that is fundamentally family-based, with knowledge and ownership passed down from generation to generation, but where the professionalisation and "industrialisation" of farm management resides in a very small handful of companies.  It is surprising that the financial sector is not looking at this and that these companies are not their primary target when considering investments in agribusiness.

The ultimate goal of agriculture is to create food to feed a growing world population. It is not for nothing that the FAO determines the usefulness of production and land used for agriculture in terms of the cost needed to generate 100 g of a given foodstuff.  This alone would be enough to justify any investment in agribusiness.

Previously we commented that the financial industry is approaching agriculture for different reasons, some of which are simply internal; for example, the compensation of their investment portfolios in the face of the new sustainable investment rules, and which once again have caught the financial world "looking the other way".

Here again we find a factor intrinsically linked to the world of agriculture. Contrary to the widespread idea that agriculture is a polluting and "wasteful" factor of natural factors such as water, agriculture, the management of land over long periods of time, is the main investment asset that by its very nature is a source of environmental advantages.  Its very functioning makes obvious the generation of circular economies, efficient water management (no sector has researched and introduced improvements in water management like agriculture), carbon sequestration... Agriculture, in short, has an impact, without any special effort, on 13 of the 17 SDGs.

Once again, in order to manage the concept of sustainability, the industry encounters the problem that there are very few actors who have the knowledge to implement these sustainability measures in their investments. Measures that also have a direct impact on reducing input costs and generating new revenue streams for their farms.

Without a doubt, sustainability is the common sense of agriculture.

In summary, we could say that land investment is not a fad, but only the first act of an investment industry that will have to evolve rapidly, because, once again, the underlying is more knowledge and expectations than the investment itself. It is our hope and expectation that the financial industry will focus on investments in agricultural technologies and agricultural operational capacity.

Investment in agribusiness, like sustainability, cannot have a partial vision, but must have a holistic vision.

Dimas Antúnez.

Diogo Pires, our ESG Director, shares his views on how ESG must be a central part of agribusiness management

We talk more and more about sustainability and often don’t immediately identify the origin of this business model. A company seeks to apply sustainability models to preserve the environment and natural resources, improve people’s standard of living and optimise management processes. It is known that companies where these principles of ecological and social balance are applied are more resilient and tend to prosper without jeopardising future generations.

The European Union has been promoting measures and objectives aimed at making the economic and business sector more sustainable. In many of these objectives, the need to combat climate change and social inequalities is clear. Many of these strategies are mirrored, for example, in the European Green Deal and the Paris Agreement. These establish actions, goals and objectives to be achieved for a more sustainable economy, also taking into account the United Nations Organisation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the SDGs it is clear that the main objective is concern for the environment and populations. Sensitising and stimulating governments and companies to adopt measures that allow entities to be more sustainable with the aim of preserving future generations.

Companies operating in the primary sector, such as agriculture, are clearly at the forefront of these actions. On the one hand, they have a direct impact on fauna and flora and, on the other hand, they operate outside of urban centres where populations show greater social inequalities.

In this way, these companies have to ensure that their operations do not jeopardise biomes and protect populations. For these reasons, the strategy is to optimise management models (financial and non-financial) and the circular economy. One of the ways to optimise this is by applying technology to the entire production model, which on the one hand optimises resources and on the other guarantees high quality production. Controlling and monitoring the entire production system, optimising and reducing the need for irrigation, plant protection products and fertilisers. Another strategy is to invest in the circular economy, as it allows us to generate other types of business and support local communities.

From an environmental point of view, at Bolschare we view our fields with the aim of preserving and rehabilitating existing biomes through nature conservation actions. We now know that these actions make our crops more resistant to pests and climate change. Thus creating more efficient and better quality production systems.

All these strategies involve analysing the entire production chain, enabling us to create a traceability of the entire product. We believe that only in this way will it be possible to deliver to the end consumer not only the best product but also a brand that is committed to and investing in the future.

Olive harvest estimates for 2023/2024

We are in the month of July, 3 months away from starting a new olive harvest 2023/2024.
At this stage it is possible to start estimating what olive oil production will be at national and international level, as well as to have an idea of how the market will behave in terms of consumption and prices.
It is estimated that the olive oil production of the world's main producers will be around 2,000,000 tonnes, with Spain accounting for 36% of this production and 50% of its normal production.
Portugal will account for around 6% of world olive oil production, which represents an increase of 10% compared to the previous campaign 2022/2023.
Knowing that current bulk olive oil stocks are relatively low, it is expected that the new harvest will start with stocks of 300,000 tonnes in stock.
Based on the production estimate data and current olive oil stocks it is expected that the price of olive oil will continue to rise.
The increase in the average price of olive oil is something that has been happening since the beginning of 2022, with a steeper rise and reaching historical values that have been surpassed every month since November 2022.
The current average price of extra virgin olive oil is €7800 per tonne and is expected to exceed €8000 per tonne during the campaign.
The big question is how long will the price of olive oil continue to rise?
Early rainfall in September and October in Spain could lead to speculation about what next year's production will be in 2024/2025 and slightly lower the average price of olive oil.
The truth is that as long as there is more demand than supply, prices will not fall, and recent data shows that olive oil exports to the United States of America and the European Union continue to rise.

Our strategy will be to start harvesting early, guaranteeing excellent quality extra virgin olive oils at the beginning of October in order to take full advantage of the high prices that the market is offering us.
The olive groves give us good production prospects, the olive stone is already fully formed and lipogenesis, the conversion of sugars into oil, is rapidly beginning.
At the mill we are fine-tuning the last details to start a new olive harvest in the best way.
The maintenance and sanitisation of the mill is essential for its correct functioning and to obtain the best extra virgin olive oils.
High temperatures at the beginning of the harvest are detrimental to the quality of the oils, and at the Olinova mill we have technology and equipment that allows us to lower the temperature of the olives and the masses, carrying out cold extractions, optimising their quality and guaranteeing the production of excellent fruity extra virgin olive oils.


Bolschare Agriculture has appointed Pedro Foles as the company's next Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Portugal and Spain.

Pedro Foles is an experienced agronomist with 11 years experience in the Iberian Peninsula and the UK. For 7 years he worked as a farm manager for the British Royal Family, with a particular focus on permanent crops and livestock. Returning to Portugal, Pedro worked as Country Manager for Agromillora in Portugal, where he helped develop all the projects in which the company was involved, with a focus on almond and olive crops throughout the country. In 2022 he joined the Bolschare family as Chief Operating Officer. Since the beginning, he has been able to gain the trust of the entire team, which has followed his leadership, taking on a great challenge, helping the company to grow and giving his great capacity as a human being and manager. Throughout his career, Pedro has been a great defender of sustainability and new technologies, giving a boost to the company's innovation and growth, this being the key to take Boslchare Agriculture's strategy to the next level.

   "I am proud to have led Bolschare Agriculture over these years and we are delighted to welcome Pedro Foles as our new CEO. Pedro's vast experience and leadership skills are exactly the qualities we need to grow our business in a sustainable way over the years. I am confident that his passion for agriculture, technology and sustainability, together with his global experience, will help us to create new opportunities for growth and deliver exceptional value to our employees, customers and partners. We are excited to work with Pedro as we simultaneously transform our businesses and grow a better future for everyone"

- Ignacio Schmolling (President of Bolschare Group)

   Bolschare Agriculture is the leading agricultural operator in the Iberian Peninsula, focusing on the sustainability of production models according to ESG metrics, offering the perfect combination of profitable agriculture with high technology and sustainability, caring for and improving the soil, the environment and the community around our farms.

  At Bolschare, we understand that in order to create value on our farms, we need to create a better future for the whole ecosystem. We are very proud to have the opportunity to be part of the future of modern agriculture and to create the future. We come back to our roots as farmers every day and believe that there is no sustainable future without learning from the past every day.

  “Being appointed CEO of Bolschare is a moment of great responsibility, motivation and confidence to continue to lead this great team through the growth of the company, as Ignacio Schmolling has done all these years since its foundation. At Bolschare, we have the feeling that we are working with our family, supporting and helping each other. It is in this spirit that we have come here and it is in this spirit that we will continue to grow together as a company and as a team for many years to come. Finally, I would like to thank the Schmolling family for their trust and support”. 

- Pedro Foles (CEO of Bolschare Agriculture)

New measures to contain and eradicate Xylella in Europe

The Official Journal of the European Union (DUE) has published the new Regulation on measures for the containment and eradication of Xylella fastidiosa in Europe, whose objective is to prevent its introduction and guarantee its containment. This new Regulation replaces the previous ones, which were based on the latest research by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

As reflected by Olimerca, among the measures, in force since last August 20, is the reduction of the radius of the eradication zone from 100 to 50 meters, a measure that divides the area affected by the uptake by four. In addition, the associated buffer zone has also been halved, aimed at preventing the spread of the bacteria to unaffected areas.

In order to eradicate the specified pest and prevent its spread to the rest of the Union, Member States must establish demarcated areas consisting of an infected zone and a buffer zone, and apply eradication measures. The width of the buffer zones must be proportional to the level of risk and the ability of the vector to spread.

However, in cases of isolated occurrence of the specified pest, the establishment of a demarcated area will not be required if the pest can be eliminated from newly introduced plants on which it has been detected. This will be the most proportionate approach when surveys in the affected area lead to the conclusion that the specified pest is not established.

In order to ensure the immediate removal of infected plants and to prevent the spread of the specified pest in the rest of the Union territory, the control of the demarcated areas should be carried out annually at the most appropriate time of the year.

Monitoring should also focus on vectors present in the demarcated area to determine the risk of their further spread and to assess the effectiveness of phytosanitary control measures applied to the vector population at all stages.

The almond tree grown under localized irrigation shows rapid growth, early production and good yields.

The intensively cultivated almond tree with localized irrigation shows rapid growth, early production and good yields in kilos of seeds, according to the first results of three projects carried out at the Torre Pacheco Integrated Center for Agricultural Training and Experiences (Cifea).

In view of the data obtained, and taking into account the prices of recent years, the almond tree can be considered in these cultivation conditions as an alternative to others such as vegetables or citrus fruits, due to its lower needs for water, fertilizer, phytosanitary and manpower.

The objective of these studies, in charge of the Ministry of Water, Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, is to replace other crops with higher consumption of water, fertilizers and phytosanitary products in Campo de Cartagena.

The first project, starting in 2010, aims to verify the adaptation in this region of the Marinada, Vairo, Constantí, Soleta, Belona, ​​Lauranne, Carrero and Coloraba varieties on the GF-677 hybrid rootstock. In 2017, the Penta varieties were also introduced and Makako.

The second project, starting in 2017, consists of a demonstration plot of 1,700 square meters of free almond seed pattern, which aims to verify the virtues attributed to it of having a more pivoting and deeper root system, greater resistance to drought and to the attack of the bollworm, perfect affinity between the rootstock and the variety, low cost and easy to obtain.

The third project, also started in 2017, consists of a 1,300-square-meter plot of high-density, direct-seeded almond trees, with the aim of verifying the technical and economic viability of this plantation system, which obtains fruit from the wall or living fence- bearing, with plantation frames of 4-3.5m x 1.5-1 meters.


In the sixth year of harvest, the highest productivity was obtained with the Constantí varieties, which reach 14kg of grain per tree, followed by Marinada and Bellona, ​​with 13.1kg, figures that at full production amount to 3,000kg. /ha of grain and confirm it as a fully competitive crop, with less water consumption than citrus and horticultural crops.

The Ministry will carry out awareness-raising activities with farmers and technicians interested in visiting and evaluating these plots in the coming years, according to the department headed by Miguel Ángel del Amor.

This initiative is co-financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (FEADER), the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Ministry of Water, Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

Source: https://www.agrodiario.com/texto-diario/mostrar/1423929/almendro-cultivado-acolchado-riego-localizado-presenta-crecimiento-rapido-precoz-produccion-buen-rendimiento

The world's olive grove protects against CO2

The olive grove has been a well-kept forest for more than 2,000 years. It is a very important part of the solution to climate change and is a good barrier against desertification.

This very special forest of olive trees is a CO2 trap because it takes the CO” from the atmosphere and fixes it in the ground. In the production of one liter of olive oil, olive trees remove 10 kg of CO2 from the atmosphere. Olive oil is good for health and for the environment.



Almond Market: Present and Future


Almond plantations have had a strong increase in our country in the last 4 years. In fact, some players in this market consider that a "boom" has occurred and that, as has happened in other crops or even in other areas of the economy, it could explode at any time. Explaining the reason for this growth can be defined with one

  • Cost effectiveness.
  • Almond price.
  • Knowledge of better cultivation techniques and management of the almond tree.

The questions that arise at the moment in which we find ourselves are the following: Are these prices sustainable in the short/medium term? California controls the world production of almonds since its production represents 80% followed by Australia with 7% and Spain with 4%.

In California, the value of almonds represents more than 5,000 million dollars for farmers, being the third product in production value behind milk and table grapes. Therefore, to talk about prices, we must analyze it from the point of view of the American almond, and, therefore, we can say that its production, processing, packaging and marketing costs should be the basis for establishing the price of the almond in the global market.

Since the beginning of 2015, when we had a spectacular increase in the price of almonds, the market trend has returned to the range of $2.20/lb (€4.60/kg) – 2 $.70/lb (€5.60/kg). Between that price range the actors are comfortable. We must not forget that the almond is a substitute product, it is not a basic necessity, and therefore an increase in price causes a drop in consumption. Are they a consequence of greater demand or specific market situations? The production of nuts worldwide has been growing in recent years, with almonds being the one that has increased the most.

The almond is the dried fruit that is most consumed and therefore it is also the one that suffers the most tension in price. Any sensation of supply or demand very quickly influences the behavior of this. Therefore, speculation is a determining factor in our market. The news that emerged during the first months of 2015 caused the offer to shrink and, therefore, prices to increase. Given this situation, the logical thing is that the demand would have stopped and the market would have returned to seek its balance.

However, during that period other macroeconomic factors occurred, such as the strengthening of the dollar against the euro, the financial tension in the Asian continent, to name a few, and this made importing American almonds increasingly expensive. At this juncture another variable also appeared that also had a positive influence on the price of almonds: THE NEW CONSUMERS.

Year after year the almond is entering the shopping basket of more people. Consuming almonds is healthy and today the consumer is aware of it. But, at high prices, what consumer can incorporate almonds into their diet? The highest per capita income.

Will the market be capable of assuming the productions of the new plantations? YES. The market will assume the new productions thanks to the fact that it has been preparing for it for years. It is expected to increase world production by more than 25%. I do not want to speculate with the estimates, since these may be more or less optimistic. What we can analyze is the consumption of almonds worldwide.

The largest consumer of almonds is Spain, with a consumption of 1.5kg/person/year, and the country that consumes the least is China with 0.02kg/person/year. The global average per capita consumption in 2016 was 0.16kg/person/year. We must also analyze the marketing work that the US has been doing for years promoting the almond. Specific marketing campaigns for each country involving movie stars, athletes, renowned chefs, etc., launching clear messages to specific targets. All this work has meant that year after year the demand grows evenly, and even, at times, more than the supply.

Is it still an opportunity to plant almond trees? The production costs of the Spanish almond are lower than those of the American almond, mainly as a result of the cultivation techniques applied in California, both due to the use of water and the varieties used, which require cross-pollination. However, the kg of grain produced in California are much higher than those produced in Spain. With practically the same productive hectares, Spain produces between 5%-6% of what Californian productive hectares produce. And I say productive, because in California almond trees continue to be planted and are being planted, using the techniques they have learned from other producing countries such as Spain.

The great work done so far in our country should not stop here. We are at the beginning of change. Research centers, nurseries, farmers, machinery manufacturers, advisers, trainers, cooperatives, industrialists, we are all on the move. Nobody could imagine 10 years ago that we could produce what we produce today. We must continue advancing in this line, but we must not forget that it is also very important to advance in marketing.

Until now we have dedicated ourselves to defending our almond from the American almond with arguments of organoleptic quality, as it cannot be otherwise. But, who hasn't eaten a bitter almond at some time in their life? Commercially, this variable is unsustainable and, even more so, when we defend our product as the best and therefore try to offer it more expensive.

We have great potential for growth and we must take advantage of the opportunity presented to us, learning from our mistakes. All of us who participate in one way or another in this market know what the mistakes are. It is up to us to solve them and continue growing.

Source: Olint agromillora: https://www.agromillora.com/olint/mercado-de-la-almendra-presente-y-futuro/

Algeria estimates to be one of the largest producers of olive oil

The geographical location of Algeria gives it one of the most favorable climates for olive cultivation. This is stated by Samir Gani, president of the Organizing Committee of the National Competition for the best Algerian EVOO Apuleius and director of the international olive fair S.I.O. Med Mag Oliva Argelia, in the Juan Vilar bulletin.

The olive sector is an important link in the Algerian economy, heritage and culture, and is very present in the Algerian diet that saves the country from importing 120,000 tons of olive oil and 300,000 tons of table olives.

The economic crisis and the fall in oil prices have led the Algerian authorities to opt for a change in their policy and bet on olive growing capable of generating a surplus that will be destined for export, Gani explains to Vilar. Hence the appearance of new olive farms and new territories where olive cultivation did not exist before, such as in the Sahara and in the highlands that are arid and semi-arid zones.

This country has gone from 190,000 to 500,000 hectares of olive groves in less than 20 years, made up of some 160 native olive groves introduced from other Mediterranean countries, with more than 70 native varieties, of which 36 have already been approved.


The future of the olive sector in Algeria, Gani describes as very promising, since he highlights that they have a great margin of development that, from his point of view, will allow them to be among the three largest producers in the world.

Regarding the export, they expect an excess of production in the future. Promoting greater consumption at the local level is their priority, but it will not be enough. To this end, work is being done on optimizing performance, improving quality, creating consortiums; in addition to other actions, such as cleaning up the business environment in Algeria, which will open the door to investment and partnership with foreign operators in a spirit of mutual benefit, Gani points out.


The average consumption of olive oil in Algeria is 2.5 liters per inhabitant per year, with peaks in some regions, such as Kabylia, reaching 15 liters / person / year. Likewise, this average consumption is expected to increase in the coming years, since sales prices, which, according to the president of the Organizing Committee, Apuleio, are not affordable for the consumer, begin to fall and consumers are increasingly aware of the benefits of olive oil for your health.

He also adds that supply, which is beginning to exceed demand, is putting pressure on producers to reduce their profit margins.

It also highlights the country's commitment to improving the quality of Argentine olive oil, through awareness campaigns by the specialized international organization, a national contest for the best EVOO, scientific conferences, training in tasting and sensory analysis, which has led to a gradual but radical change in trend, of consumers committed to the demand for quality, that is, for EVOO.