The economy in the region is mainly supported by agriculture. The splendid weather and the wealth of the land, origin of the agricultural products high quality, are part of the strength in this sector. In our territory, the small farms predominate, where the integrated production makes way, principally in prominent sectors like rice and olive trees. In this way, it is evident the farmworkers' determined investment in the environment and in a competitive, healthy and high quality production.
Although the region lacks of coast or sea places, it has large areas of marshes, where they have developed, for two decades, a shellfishing and fishing activity closely linked to the marsh resources in the Doñana Natural Space. To this traditional fishing, decadent sector in the last years, we must add the existence of aquaculture which is generating a great amount of employment and richness.
The industrial representation is generally reduced in the region and hardly important for the economy. Its main exponent is the food and agriculture industry related to the transformation of the olive derivates, rice or fishing products. Just like in the province of Seville, the food and agriculture industry is one of the most important activities in Aljarafe-Doñana, although there are important spaces in the agro-industry transformation. It is fundamentally formed by small businesses, but there are other companies more relevant in size and invoicing, as some agricultural cooperatives and other leading business initiatives that are adding value to the agricultural wealth in our land in a competitive and modern way.
Other representative companies in the region are those that transform metal products, the furniture industry and its complements, and those that make
natural rubber and plastic materials. The first two are generally distributed for the whole territory, although the second one is especially relevant in Pilas. Some of them possess a medium dimension, with wider markets and constantly updated, but the majority are focused on the regional market and its outskirts.
However, the economic emergency in the last years is staring by the third sector. Generally, we can consider that the region Aljarafe-Doñana has a service and commercial appropriate coverage, excepting the towns of which population dimension prevents the economic profitability of this kind of business.
In this section, we highlight tourism as a clearly emerging sector with a great economic power. However, as of today, the region still brings up large deficiencies to the development of this activity, as the deficit of tourist services and infrastructures (accommodation, companies of supplementary services, etc.), the nonexistent tourist regional planning or the weak business culture. These weaknesses have generated certain slowness in the tourist development in relation to other territorial neighbours and the rest of Andalusia.
If we analyze the economic information related to employment, we get the socioeconomic situation in the region. Thus in 2001, the regional unemployment rate (with a percentage relationship between unemployed and active population) was 28,2 per cent, what supposes a light reduction respecting the previous European Community setting, which was 30 per cent. The sex distribution of this rate is 40,3 per cent for women and 28,2 per cent for men. In both cases, higher percentage than the one registered in Seville and Andalusia.
This fact emphasises the characterization of our region, in spite of its proximity with the Seville metropolitan area, as a rural environment in which the work setting is a challenge to achieve population continuity. Unemployment mainly exists in agriculture, an activity subject to a clear seasonal variation. On the other hand, it is worth mentioning the drop in unemployment in villages as Huévar del Aljarafe or Benacazón, thanks to the increasing diversification of the economy in these villages, less dependent on the primary sector every time.