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Witloof chicory, Cichorium intybus / Compositae
Native to Europe, it is widely cultivated in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany. With their current characteristics, chicories originated in the XIXth century, in a small town of Brussels called Evere.

The witloof chicory is widely spread in Europe (west, centre and south), although it is also found in the North of Africa and some regions of Asia. In 1997, France was the main world-wide producer, with 200,000 t, followed by the Netherlands with 85,000 t and Belgium with approximately 78,000 t.

The Spanish production of chicories is hardly important, both in the national scope as that compared with the chief producing countries. In 1995, 326 ha were cultivated in Spain, totalling 8,225 t with a value of 1,325 million pesetas.

The production of chicories estimated in 1995 in Spain by communities was the following:

AreaHectaresTons
Castilla-León2136,031
Navarra601,200
Castilla-La Mancha41833
Others12161
Total3268,225

Source: La Horticultura Española (2001) Sech.

The culture of chicories in Spain is centred in Castilla-León and Navarra.

In 1995, Spain exported1,943 t of chicory, with a value of 385 million pesetas approximately. In 1995, the Spanish chicory exports to countries of the UE totalled 7,510 t, with a value next to 540 million pesetas. 1,593 t were exported to third countries with a value of 72.5 million pesetas. Most of the imports and exports of chicory are witloof chicories.

In Spain, chicories are barely produced; the culture area is more or less stabilized. Nevertheless, a slight but constant tendency to the increase in production has been observed.
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