Updated: Sep 22
Rural depopulation is an increasingly pressing challenge in Spain, and one of its most worrying effects is the loss of farmers.
Rural areas have suffered a significant loss of population in recent decades, leading many towns to forgetfulness and abandonment. This has meant a decline in agricultural activity along with the loss of farmland, both due to migration to urban areas and the lack of farmers to take over from the elderly. That's why some would say that farmers are in danger of extinction.
However, it seems that Soria has found the key to getting agricultural activity to resurface. The Castilian-Leonese province has been hit by depopulation in recent years, something that has seriously affected local commerce and the livelihood of many of its inhabitants. Recently, thanks to local initiatives, they have managed to recover the agricultural rhythm of years ago.
Hand in hand with cooperatives made up of farmers from the region, intense work has been done to promote local products and the search for new markets in order to open local trade to a new world. Thus, by promoting organic farming and creating brands recognized for their quality, the Sorianos have managed to revitalize the agricultural activity they already knew and attract young entrepreneurs to the area.
The Aliste region, in Zamora, has also suffered a significant loss of population and farmers. However, they have found in rural tourism an opportunity to recover their economy. With the collaboration between farmers, tourist routes have been created that show the rural life of Aliste and, in addition, allow visitors to learn about the ancient agricultural and gastronomic traditions of the area. This approach has not only encouraged the permanence of farmers and has improved the economy of the region, but has also generated new jobs.
The fight against oblivion has been crucial for many towns and regions of Spain, which were abandoned by the relocation of families to urban areas. The approach taken by the region of La Vera, Cáceres, in the face of rural depopulation, has been the implementation of sustainable agricultural practices. For the first time, local farmers have opted for organic production of their traditional products, such as paprika or cherries. In addition, by promoting their products in national and international markets such as Aliste, they have managed to increase their income and generate more employment in the area. The region's farming community has been strengthened, especially by sharing resources and knowledge between old and new farmers.
These cases are a clear example of the responsiveness and creativity of rural communities in the face of depopulation and the loss of farmers in Spain. Even so, significant challenges remain. In order to ensure a sustainable future in which agriculture continues to grow, it is crucial to implement comprehensive rural development policies, which include investments in infrastructure, basic services and access to new agricultural technologies that facilitate work. Likewise, it is important to promote training and generational change, promoting entrepreneurial spirit and economic diversification in rural areas.
The cases of Soria, Aliste and La Vera show that there are innovative solutions that can help revitalize activity and life in rural areas. With a comprehensive approach and the support of appropriate policies, it is possible to reverse the trend of leaving and ensure the sustainability of these farming communities.