Agricultural seasonal workers in times of Covid-19 in Spain

Publication date:
Berta Güell and Blanca Garcés-Mascareñas

ADMIGOV Deliberable 3.3 (2020)

Spain is one of the European Union’s main market gardens. Many of the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and also strawberries and other red fruits consumed in the EU come from Spain. Unsurprisingly, then, Spain is the EU’s leading exporter of fruits and vegetables and one of the world’s top three, alongside China and the United States. Fruit and vegetable production represents a quarter of all the value produced by the agricultural sector. Spain is also the largest producer of olive oil, accounting for 50% of world production. Within Spain, one of the main agricultural regions is Huelva (Andalusia), which concentrates 78% of red fruit exports (half strawberries and the rest raspberries, blueberries and others) at the national level. Another important region is Lleida (Catalonia), which concentrates an important part of the Spanish production of seed fruits (peaches and pears). In 2017 the number of work contracts in agriculture was about 225,000 in Huelva and 50,000 in Lleida. As both regions are highly dependent on seasonal workers, it is no coincidence that both led the first circular migration programmes in the early 2000s (Molinero, 2018: 291).