Fresh fruit and vegetable exports grew by 11% in the first quarter
Exports of fresh fruits and vegetables in the first quarter of 2017 increased by 11% per cent in value in relation to the same period in 2016, rising to EUR 4,096 million and falling 2% in volume to 3.5 million tons, according to data released by the Department of Customs and Special Taxes of the Ministry of Economy, processed by FEPEX.
Vegetables exports in the first quarter of the year fell by 4.5% in volume, totalling 1.8 million tons, while value grew by 18.7% to EUR 2,213 million. The main vegetables exported were tomatoes, with 345,420 tonnes (-14%) with a value of EUR 445 million (+15%), lettuces, with 291,690 tons (+1%) with a value of EUR 298 million (+17.5%), peppers with 271,096 tons, the same amount as this period last year, and EUR 432 million (+9%) and cucumbers, with 234,589 tons (-4%) and a value of EUR 269.5 million (+39%). Cabbages also did well, with 199,053 tons (-5%) and EUR 218 million (+16%) as did courgettes, with 106,280 tons (-2%) for a value of EUR 144,916 (+76.7%).
In the first quarter of the year, exports of fresh fruit registered a slight increase in volume of 0.5%, compared to the same period in 2016, totalling 1.7 million tons and 3% in value, amounting to EUR 1,882 million. Citrus fruits were the main varieties exported, followed by berries, with EUR 289 million of strawberries, EUR 129 million of raspberries, EUR 48 million of cranberries and EUR 3.3 million of blackberries, with total growth of 8%. During this period, avocado exports increased to 38,419 tons (+29%), for a value of EUR 111 million (+22.5%) and persimmons rose to 38,728 tons (+46%) with a value of EUR 35.3 million (+33%). Apples fell 10% in volume and 24% in value to 26,864 tons and EUR 17.3 million, respectively.
According to FEPEX, adverse weather conditions were responsible for the negative behaviour of volumes exported in the first quarter, with falls in January and February of the 7% and 5%, respectively, while in March, volume recovered, with growth of 6.4%. This recovery was observed both in vegetables, with an 8% improvement and 652,505 tons, and in fruits, with 4% and 579,390 tons. In value, shipments in the month of March grew by 6.7%, to a total of EUR 1,405 million, of which 698 million were vegetables (+7%) and EUR 707 million were fruit (+6%).