Costa Tropical – Paradise Lost

spanish tropical fruitThe coast between Malaga and Almeria has an almost perfect climate. Protected from the cold north winds by the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it has an average temperature of 20°C and up to 320 sunny days each year. Water is in good supply with rivers fed from the melt waters of the mountains, so the region is ideal for agriculture. When the Moors arrived in the 8th century they bought with them tropical fruits such as mango, banana, avocado and custard apple, which flourished and became popular with the Spanish people. Sugar cane also provided a profitable local industry, until recently.
Initially these rare subtropical fruits would be considered expensive, luxury items by the Spanish elite, but in the 21st century, consumer pressure has demanded cheaper and cheaper products, and to ensure this agricultural methods have had to adapt.
DSCF2241I expect the CostaTropical to be a vision of paradise with orange and mango groves glowing green along the coast, but what I find is a sea of plastic where the produce is hidden away in a hot house to force growth. I cannot see what is growing inside, but I understand that most of the fruit trees have been replaced with tomatoes and cucumbers. And it is not only Jesus who can walk on water, for I can see several men tip-toeing across the sea of plastic as they repair the roofs or replace the old, thin, sun-bleached covers.


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