Although it only has a relatively small bearing on employment (4,5%), the primary sector in Navarre has a significant sociological value and provides an exquisite raw material for the agro-industrial sector.
From a physical and geographic point of view, a trip from north to south in Navarre means a gradual change from mountainous terrain, rich in forest expanses, with an abundance of meadows, corn and beet crops, and therefore, eminently suitable for livestock, to the Middle Area, where now cereal and forage crops, fruit orchards and ultimately industrial crops, such as sunflower and rapeseed, prevail.
Crops and fallow land. (Photo: Etxebarria/Astrain)
The Ribera has a greater extension of vines and there are abundant vegetable crops, of well-earned fame, which supply the district’s traditional and extensive canning industry.
As proof of the prestige of the agricultural and livestock production, mention should be made of the labels of origin for Idiazabal cheese in the Urbasa area, Roncal cheese, asparagus of Navarre, piquillo peppers from Lodosa and Navarre wine in the red, rosé and white classes. In addition to these, there is the “Veal of Navarre” label of quality.
A network of small and medium-sized companies, bordering the Alsasua-Pamplona-Tudela corridor and along the Ribera del Ebro axis, constitutes the region’s industrial fabric, but there is also a significant presence of production plants belonging to multinational corporations, given their importance in terms of employment and value added, as well as their decisive contribution to the modernisation of the regional productive machine and, therefore, to the economic development of the Comunidad Foral.
A large part of these industrial plants, characterised by their cutting-edge technology, their significant export capacity and their knock-on effect on the rest of the economy, belong to the two most important sub-sectors in Navarre’s industry: Car manufacturing and Machinery and equipment. These two sub-sectors along with the third in order of importance, the agro-food industry, provide over half Navarre’s industrial GAV.
In contrast to this concentration, the diversification of activities within the sector has only made significant progress towards the end of the 90’s, thanks to the implementation and development of a wind-power industry that is considered to have a high potential for growth.
The service sector has undergone major development over the past two decades.
The transformation of the economic sector in the Comunidad Foral is also apparent when analysing the major development of services over the past twenty years.
The process of developing the tertiary sector in Navarre’s economy, and as yet incomplete, has meant that the sector currently accounts for over half the region’s employment and GAV.
With regard to Spain as a whole, its added value accounts for 1.4% of the national figure, a proportion that is one-tenth higher than befalls it in terms of population.
Concerning the branches of activity, the capacity for creating employment has been especially noteworthy in certain sub-sectors, such as services to companies, retailing and property services, although all the activities in the service sector have registered major rates of growth, especially those in Health, Education, Public Administration and Social Services.