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Exports of fresh fruit and vegetables slipped by 2% in 2014

Wiki Spanish Food editorial team

The value of fresh fruit and vegetable exports fell by 2% in 2014 in year-on-year terms, amounting to 10.475 billion euros, ending the growth trend of the last two years. The volume exported continued to improve, by 2% to 12 million tons, according data published this week by the Department of Customs and Excise Taxes of the Ministry of Economy, processed by FEPEX.

Vegetable exports slipped by 1.4%, to 4.270 billion euros, due to the decline in the primary vegetables exported, such as tomatoes, which totaled 960.8 million euros (-3%); lettuce, 551 million euros (-3%); and cucumber,448 million euros (-3.5%). In terms of volume, vegetable exports increased by 7%, amounting to 5 million tons.

Fruit exports declined by 2.3% in terms of value and by 1.2% in terms of volume, to 6.204 billion euros and 7 million tons. Strawberry exports rose, to 483.5 million euros (+3.6%), as did table grapes, to 259 million euros (+9%). In contrast, exports of the following stone fruits fell: peaches, 318.8 million euros (-3.6%); nectarines, 401.7 million euros (-6%); and apricots, 82.9 million euros (-10%).

Andalusia is the leading region in terms of fruit and vegetable exports, which totaled 3.583 billion eurosand increased by 2% compared with 2013, followed by Valencia, with exports of 3.205 billion euros (-13%), and Murcia, with 2.175 billion euros (+4%). Catalonia's exports totaled 725 million euros (+1%); Extremadura, 170.8 million euros (+8%); Aragón, 124.9 million euros (+6%); Castile-La Mancha, 88 million euros (+17%); the Canary Islands, 60.5 million euros (-21%); Castile-León,31.7 million euros (-26%); and La Rioja, 3.4 million euros (-6%).

In terms of destinations,the European Union accounted for 91% of Spanish exports in 2014, for a total of 9.561 billion euros, i.e. a decline of 2% with respect to 2013.According to FEPEX, that decline was attributable to policies to nationalize consumption implemented by certain EU governments, the prioritization of direct sales channels for fresh and seasonal products, growing competition in imports, and ineffective crisis management measures.

Outside the EU, exports to certain countries fell, including Russia (-34%), due to the ban in place since August, as well as Norway (-6%) and Switzerland (-3%). In contrast, exports to other non-EU countries increased, to 421.5 million euros (+32%).The main destination countries in the latter group are Brazil, with 70.4 million euros (+25%); Canada, with 58.5 million euros (+165%); and Algeria, with 56.3 million euros (+25%). This data reflects the commercialefforts by producers towards geographic diversification of their exports.

Imports in 2014 increased by 5% in term of volume and 3.6% in terms of value compared with 2013, for a total of 2.4 million tons and 1.697 billion euros. Fruit exports increased the most, by 9.3% in terms of volume and 8.6% in terms of value, to 1.3 million tons and 1.171 billion euros. The main imported fruits are bananas, apples and kiwis. The import volume of vegetables remained stable, at 1.1 million tons (+0.7%), and value fell by 6% to 536 million euros due to the decline in the main vegetable imported by Spain, the potato, with 152 million euros (-36.6%).

According to FEPEX, the decline in export value of fruits and vegetables in 2014ended the growth trend of the last decade,with the exception of 2009. This, together with the crisis in the domestic market, where consumption continues to slip, highlights the need to adapt the various policies to maintenance of production and employment.

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01/08/2017