Characterization of technological levels in Mediterranean horticultural greenhouses
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The technology existing in Spanish horticultural greenhouses is highly diverse; however, low levels predominate. Therefore urgent improvements and conversions are required to increase yields and quality to maintain competitive production. To define the equipment and investment required, it is necessary to establish the current levels of technology and the extent to which it is developing. To do so, information has been collected using a survey based on stratified random sampling in the three most important greenhouse horticultural areas in Spain: Almeria, Murcia and Southern Alicante. Based on information from 242 farms, five groups of technological levels with a gradual variation in technology were identified by cluster analysis. Of the five groups, three relate to cultivation in soil and the other two to soilless culture. In this study, we have applied the test for independence in order to relate the levels obtained with certain relevant characteristics of the farm. The results display the usefulness of grouping the greenhouses by levels, and reveal which are the most characteristic components in level formation with their percentage distribution. Thus, current characteristics of technology, and its development, have been identified, and priority assigned to the different components.