Spain, like other EU countries, has experienced rapid intensification and specialisation of agriculture. Due to national history and late accession to the European Economic Community (1986), this process took place very fast, and with devastating effects on peasant farming, with the disappearance of many farms, the replacement of family labour by waged labour, and the decline of rural areas and population.
On a policy level, Spain has failed to deploy effective access to land policies. In some regions, egional governments established public land banks but their actual impact is rather anecdotal. Land market regulations are little developed and ineffective. They do not counter the current tendency of a loss of 83 farms per day. Environment policies relating to farmland and rural areas are still focused on preserving biodiversity in a way disconnected from the farm activity.
This analysis provides a special focus on Catalonia, as it is the area of practical experience and knowledge of the organisations engaged in this network. The situation in Catalonia is very similar to the overall Spanish situation. One of the key feature is the prevalence of middle-size livestock farms, very integrated in industrial agrofood chains. Another big difference is the increasing entrepreneurship around organic farming, including agroecological forms. Besides, an agricultural stewardship strategy linked to some protected areas started very recently (2013) in Catalonia.