WHILE most industries in Andalucia are feeling the pinch of the economic crisis, agro-food is one area where business is positively booming.
Thanks to a successful production of olive oil, meats, vegetables, fruits, cheeses, seeds and fish, food factories have been able to increase their overseas sales and create much-needed new jobs while other industries have failed to stay afloat.
Of the 125 agro-food factories in Andalucia, a third are in Malaga.
But while the region has suffered a 10% fall overall in employment since the recession began, more jobs are being created all the time in the food industry – which is growing rapidly thanks to increased exports overseas.
Thanks to Malaga exporting olive oil to China, goats cheese to France, and avocados to Sweden – among many others – this industry has grown steadily.
“Ten years ago, when the bankers and businessmen were earning a fortune from the property boom, we wondered whether we’d taken a good bet,” said Francisco Requena from meat factory Faccsa-Prolongo, in Cartama.
“But we know now we had, because we are still being paid at the end of each month.”
Faccsa-Prolongo, with 650 employees, has increased its exports from 20% of sales to 50% in the last five years – in particular to China and Russia – which has allowed it to take on new staff.
Another success story is olive oil factory Grupo Hojiblanca in Antequera, whose turnover last year was 389 million which it hopes to increase to 500 million this year.
Meanwhile Trops in Velez Malaga – which exports 80% of its lychees, avocadoes, mangoes and kumquats abroad – is looking to triple its turnover this year.