agriculture

86 wildfires hit Catalonia simultaneously

July 20, 2016 04:04 PM | ACN

The Catalan government has set the maximum alert level for forest fires’ risk in 30 regions, most of them in central Catalonia, due to the high temperatures registered in the last few days, which exceeded 40 degrees in some areas. On Tuesday alone, 86 wild fires hit different regions of Catalonia simultaneously. However, the most important one occurred this Tuesday in Vallbona de les Monges, a small village 40 kilometres west from the city of Lleida. In less than 5 hours, the fire burned nearly 900 hectares, most of them cereal crops. The firefighters sent 55 land resources and 3 aerial’s, which achieved to stabilise the fire by Wednesday morning. However, they continue to water the perimeter to prevent the fire from reviving.

 

 

Unemployment in Catalonia below 500,000 people, lowest figure since 2009

April 4, 2016 03:09 PM | ACN

The number of unemployed registered in Catalonia totalled 499,991 this past March, which represents 10,246 less than in February. According to the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security, this drop was mainly due to Easter seasonal hiring. This figure is below 500,000 unemployed, which hasn’t happened since July 2009. Moreover, the decrease registered this past month is the highest for a March month since the data series began, in 1996. Although unemployment fell in all the sectors, the one which registered the highest drop in the unemployment rate was the services sector. Unemployment in Catalonia now seen 33 months of annual decreases and continues to lead the unemployment decline in Spain. In the whole of Spain, the number of unemployment people reached 4,094,770, some 58,216 fewer than in February.

88,000 fewer unemployed in Catalonia, the biggest drop since 2003

January 28, 2016 06:33 PM | ACN

There were 87,900 fewer jobseekers at the end of 2015 in comparison to the end of 2014, which represents the biggest annual drop since 2003, according to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA). This represents the 10th consecutive month in which the rate of unemployment has decreased in Catalonia in comparison to 2014. The unemployment rate in Catalonia at the end of 2015 was 17.7%, 2 points lower than it was on the 31st of December 2014. In the whole of Spain, there were 678,000 less unemployed at the end of 2015, the biggest drop in absolute numbers. In percentage terms, the unemployment rate was 20.9%, still higher than Catalonia’s.

New Catalan Government set to work

January 14, 2016 05:49 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The members of the new Catalan executive took office this Thursday, more than three months after the 27th of September Catalan Elections resulted in the victory of pro-independence forces. Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, called them to be “aware” of the citizens’ assignment “without renouncing anything”. ERC’s leader Oriol Junqueras has been designed to assume the Vice presidency and led the Department of Economy and Tax Office, one of the key areas of the new executive. Another novelty is the creation of the department for Foreign Affairs, which will be led by former MEP and ‘Junts Pel Sí’s top member, Raül Romeva.

Spain’s embassy “obstructed” Catalan companies’ commercial mission to China

November 25, 2015 08:23 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

Catalan Minister for Agriculture Jordi Ciuraneta claimed that Spanish diplomacy “obstructed”the commercial mission to China of twenty Catalan companies from the meat, fish and citrus fruit sectors. According to Ciuraneta, Spain’s embassy interfered to “cancel”two important meetings between Catalan businessmen, representatives from the Catalan government and several Chinese organisations responsible for authorising the Catalan companies’exports, scheduled for this Wednesday. Ciuraneta considered it “institutional aggression”that “damages”the Catalan companies who travelled to China and their commercial mission. Catalan liberal party CDC MEP Ramon Tremosa stated that Spain’s executive “contradicts the European policies regarding the opening of new markets”and asked the European Commission to investigate what he described as “Spain’s diplomacy boycott”.

Pioneering website to follow up illnesses in the porcine sector

October 13, 2015 04:24 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

Porcine Sanitation Group (GSP) in Lleida region, together with the Catalan Ministry of Agriculture, has launched 'Portal de Casos Clínics' ('Portal of Clinique Cases'), an innovative website to help veterinary tasks in the porcine sector. The application, a first in Europe, enables the professionals to do a follow up of the state and evolution of porcine illnesses in real time. The aim is to help veterinarians to diagnose as well as anticipate problems and optimise the resources and time used for treatment. This sanitary tool has already 7,000 cases indexed. The launching of the website is another step forward for GSP, a non-profit association which aims to improve the sanitary standard and profitability of porcine companies in Catalonia.  

29 Catalan companies to take part in Anuga, the world’s most important Food and Agriculture Fair

October 7, 2015 04:12 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

From the 10th to the 14th of October, the German city of Cologne will host Anuga, the world’s most important Food and Agriculture Fair which gathered together, in its last edition, nearly 7,000 exhibitors from 100 countries. Catalonia’s food industry will be represented through two main sectors; olive oil and nuts on the one hand, and cold meats on the other. The Catalan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fishery and Food is aware of the importance of the EU market, as more than 50% of Catalonia’s food and beverage production is exported there. Moreover, the EU is the biggest consumer of food and beverages, ahead of the US and China.

Wine and Cava Fair in Barcelona at the feast of ‘La Mercè’

September 23, 2015 07:02 PM | ACN / Shobha Prabhu-Naik / Hannah Lazo

The Wine and Cava Fair celebrates its 35th year at the feast of ‘La Mercè’, in Barcelona. From the 19th to the 24th of September, 81 wineries from all 12 of Catalonia’s wine and Cava regions will be represented. The fair is a way of demonstrating that Catalonia produces top-quality wines which successfully compete with other regions. It is also an interesting way of introducing new enthusiasts to wine culture. Wine and Cava will be sold by all the wineries at the fair, and there is a large area reserved for wine tasting. There is also the opportunity to sample other typical Catalan products, including a selection of the best local sausages and cheeses.

Economic growth in Catalonia slows to a 0.9% quarterly increase in June

August 6, 2015 09:48 PM | ACN

The Catalan GDP increased by 0.9% between April and June this year, which is a positive figure but slightly lower than the 1.1% rate registered during the first quarter. However, in annual terms, the Catalan economy grew by 3% in the year to June, which is more than the 2.6% annual growth registered in March. Such a high level of annual growth had not been registered since September 2007, before the financial crisis started. According to the Catalan Finance Ministry, the minor fall off in growth registered between April and June compared to the growth rate from January to March is due to the "extraordinary" 1.1% growth rate of the first quarter. The Ministry stressed that 0.9% growth is still a very positive rate and does not break the trend of the economic recovery, on the contrary proving its strength.

1st China Construction Bank branch in Spain opens in Barcelona; trade deal with Fujian signed

July 3, 2015 08:47 PM | ACN

The month of July started with the strengthening of Catalonia's business and economic relations with China. On Wednesday, China Construction Bank Corporation (CCB) - the second largest bank in the world by market capitalisation (207.9 billion U.S. dollars) - opened its first Spanish branch in the Catalan capital with an official ceremony at the Palace of Pedralbes. The same day, the Catalan Government signed an agreement with the Chinese Province of Fujian, aimed at expanding export opportunities for Catalan agricultural products and promoting the exchange of market and legal information between the two partners.

Eco-villages in Catalonia: the rise of new green models in times of crisis

June 19, 2015 04:57 PM | Valentina Marconi

An increasing number of people are fed up with living in concrete jungles. Many think of the countryside as a solution to problems such as stress, a low-paying job and pollution. Due to the start of the economic crisis, this phenomenon boomed, with people beginning to look for an 'alternative way of life' or, at least, new opportunities. Catalonia and the whole of Spain are no exception to this. Here, moving (back) to the countryside nowadays looks like an attractive option to many, especially to young unemployed graduates. However, sustainable agriculture initiatives and the like are the 'junior division' compared to more complex social, cultural and ecological experiments: the eco-villages. Coming in different shapes and sizes, their members share resources and spaces, grow their own food and cover in a sustainable way the energy demand of the buildings they live in. With different missions and features, many eco-villages can be traced back to one or two decades ago and could teach a lot to newcomers.

Basf to invest €21 million in one of its chemical plants in Tarragona, creating 30 additional jobs

May 12, 2015 06:16 PM | ACN

The German multinational company Basf announced on Tuesday it will invest €21 million to expand one of the plants it has in the area of Tarragona, in Southern Catalonia. Basf operates several plants in the Tarragona area, which is Spain's main centre for the petro-chemical industry and one of the most important ones at European level. The investment announced this Tuesday is the largest made by the Spanish division of the German multinational in a single plant in many years, confirmed the company. The centre producing the innovative liquid fungicides for sustainable agriculture will extend its facilities and increase production capacity of these fungicides for high performance crops. Once the work is completed, the company will add 30 workers to its staff. Basf expects the expansion work to end and the new production line to be fully operational by the end of next year.

Catalan economy grew by 1.5% in 2014, the best year since 2007

March 27, 2015 05:53 PM | ACN

The GDP of Catalonia increased by 1.5% during 2014, according to the definitive figures released by the Catalan Statistics Institute (Idescat) on Friday. However, on the same day, the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE) published its economic growth figures for 2014 and announced that the Catalan economy had grown by 1.4% last year, the same rate as Spain. In any case, both figures are quite positive after many years of economic crisis and slowdown. In fact, 2014 has been the best year since 2007, when the Catalan economy grew by 3.2% according to the Idescat. The final figure for 2014 is higher than the provisional 1.2% growth rate previously announced. Following European Union instructions, the calculations for last year include R&D activities, as well as prostitution and trafficking of drugs and tobacco.

Domestic sales of Cava grew by 7% in 2014 but decreased by 5% at EU level

March 10, 2015 10:29 PM | ACN

Cava is a Catalan sparkling wine produced using the ‘Méthode Champenoise’. According to statistics from the Cava Regulatory Board, some 242.29 million bottles of Cava were sold in 2014, which represents a 0.38% increase on 2013 figures. Sales on the domestic market increased for the first time after two years of decline, reaching 87.58 million bottles, a 7.54% increase over 2013, with 6.14 million more bottles sold. Sales in bars and restaurants are one of the main reasons for the domestic increase since these grew by 9.3% over 2013. These results compensated for the drop in 2014 sales to the EU market, which accounted for 111.62 million bottles, 5.3% less than in 2013 and a decline in absolute terms of 6.22 million bottles. This was mainly due to a contraction in demand from the German market.

Onions on fire: the internationalisation of ‘calçots’

March 9, 2015 09:01 PM | Alba Barrionuevo / Clàudia C. Salellas

The 'calçot' - a type of long white spring onion - is a traditional food in Catalonia, a delicacy from the winter months, eaten with its own sauce. In Valls, the cradle of 'calçots', local and international chefs meet to create new dishes with this ingredient. The 'calçots' season, which starts in November and lasts until April, officially begins during the last weekend of January, when Valls celebrates its ‘Gran Festa de la Calçotada’. This party, which attracts thousands of people and media from around the world, is one of the most important Catalan gastronomic events. But why is Valls the capital of 'calçotades'? What is the correct way to cook 'calçots' and its sauce like a professional, and why is this event becoming so international?