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Spinach, Spinacia oleracea / Chenopodiaceae
The origin of the spinach is centred in the Southwest of Asia. It was introduced by the Arabs in Spain during the XIth century and afterwards in Europe.

The data of the FAO publication from 2000 indicate that the world-wide production is 7,755,161 t, distributed by continents in the following way:

ContinentTons
Africa85,000
Asia6,872,577
Europe512,675
North and Central America266,890
Oceania7,200
South America10,819
Total7,755,161

Source: FAOSTAT Database Results (2000) ( http://www.fao.org )

The continent with larger production of spinach in the world is Asia.

The main producing countries are:

CountryTons
China6,012,000
Japan329,100
The United States of America247,090
Turkey190,000
France130,000
Korea129,000
Italy85,367
Pakistan80,212
Indonesia61,124
Germany60,503

Source: FAOSTAT Database Results (2000) ( http://www.fao.org )

Practically the totality of the world-wide production comes from China, that generates 6,012,000 t. It is followed by Japan, with an annual production of 329,100 t.

In 2000, Spain produced 46,000 t of spinach. In relation to other European countries, specially from the north, the produce obtained in the Iberian Peninsula is of a very good quality, tastier, with more intense coloration, more dry matter and a potential lower content of nitrates, since its accumulation is related to low levels of solar radiation.

67,553 tons of spinach were imported in the world. The distribution of the 1999 imports by continents is shown in the following table:

ContinentImports in Tons
Africa37
Asia2,614
Europe44,183
North and Central America20,665
Oceania21
South America33

Source: FAOSTAT Database Results (1999) ( http://www.fao.org )

Europe is the continent with greater amount of spinach import, followed by North and Central America.

The main import countries are, in the first place, Canada, followed by the Netherlands and Belgium-Luxembourg. The ten first world-wide importers are included in the table below:

CountryTons
Canada18,157
The Netherlands13,411
Belgium-Luxembourg13,066
Germany7,998
United Kingdom4,937
Singapore2,219
The United States of America1,636
France1,057
Switzerland1,048
Mexico826

Source: FAOSTAT Database Results (1999) ( http://www.fao.org )

Spain hardly imported spinach in 1999. It only imported 105 tons.

The world-wide imports in 1999 amounted to 40,493 thousand dollars. Canada was the country with greater investment in its imports, followed by United Kingdom and Germany. The 10 first countries classified according to the monetary value of their imports in 1999 were:

CountryThousand dollars
Canada13,599
United Kingdom8,132
Germany4,676
The Netherlands2,556
Belgium-Luxembourg2,330
Switzerland1,463
Singapore1,395
The United States of America1,146
France1,038
Mexico678

Source: FAOSTAT Database Results (1999) ( http://www.fao.org )

The Spanish imports amounted to 272 thousand dollars in 1999.

71,705 tons of spinach were exported in the world according to FAO data from 1999. The distribution of the 1999 exports by continents is as follows:

ContinentExports in Tons
Africa12
Asia11,986
Europe37,142
North and Central America22,560
Oceania3
South America2

Source: FAOSTAT Database Results (1999) ( http://www.fao.org )

The continent with larger export of spinach is Europe, followed by North and Central America and Asia.

The main exporters are, in the first place, the United States of America, followed by the Netherlands. The ten first world-wide export countries are shown in the table below:

CountryTons
The United States of America17,823
The Netherlands21,264
Italy8,638
Malaysia8,375
Mexico4,303
China2,534
Spain2,327
Germany2,201
France1,229
Cyprus1,036

Source: FAOSTAT Database Results (1999) ( http://www.fao.org )

Spain exported in 1999 two thousand three hundred and twenty-seven tons of spinach, the seventh exporter in the world-wide ranking.
The world-wide exports in 1999 amounted to 38,108 thousand dollars. The country with greater investment in its exports were the United States of America. The following table includes the ten first export countries classified by monetary value:

CountryThousand dollars
The United States of America13,727
Italy8,622
The Netherlands2,924
Spain2,636
Malaysia1,894
Mexico1,841
France1,594
Portugal976
Cyprus910
Belgium-Luxembourg644

Source: FAOSTAT Database Results (1999) ( http://www.fao.org )

Spain invested 2,636 thousand dollars in spinach export, the fourth place in the world-wide ranking.

The total surface devoted to the culture of spinach in Spain amounts to 1,665 ha; the production estimated in 1999 by provinces was as follows:

AreaHectaresTons
Navarra3648,034
Barcelona3354,807
Badajoz2002,400
Valencia1202,280
Albacete1412,080
Córdoba1271,934
Lleida1031,622
Zaragoza1071,487
Murcia671,486
Tarragona1011,422

Source: La Horticultura Española (2001)
SECH, Sociedad Española de Ciencias Hortícolas

It is observed that the culture of this vegetable in Spain is centred in Navarra. Barcelona has also an important output. The region of Murcia has a high production of spinach as compared to the amount of soil cultivated.
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