Marco Salvi, President of Fruitimprese: “The sector remains resilient in a challenging year.” Fresh fruits perform well. Key exports maintain excellence: apples, table grapes, and kiwis.

Italian fruit and vegetable foreign trade maintains a positive trend in 2022 following the records set in 2021. The value grows to €5.3 billion (+1.5%) compared to 2021, while volumes remain roughly at 2021 levels (-0.4%). The positive balance in terms of value (approximately €666 million) returns to 2020 levels (-38%), while the volume balance worsens (-110,001 tons). This is a result of the difference between imported quantities (3.7 million tons) and exported quantities (about 3.6 million tons). Fruits continue to lead our exports, notably apples (€863 million), table grapes (€738 million), and kiwis (€509 million). These figures are based on Istat data, as reported by Fruitimprese.

Despite a challenging year marked by rising production costs and geopolitical tensions, fresh fruits perform well (€2.8 billion, +6.3%), partially recovering from inflation. Legumes and vegetables also show positive growth (€1.6 billion, +4.1%). However, the export of dried fruits performs poorly (-25.8%), significantly losing value due to reduced consumption. Citrus exports recover in value (+2.4%), even though imported quantities (403,000 tons) are twice that of the export (201,000 tons). On the import side, legumes, vegetables, and citrus experience strong growth in value (+34.1% and +13.9% respectively).

Among the most exported products, our fruit excellence (apples, table grapes, kiwis) takes the lead, although values don’t fully recover from inflation. Peaches and nectarines perform well (+43.5%) due to a negative season in Spain. Oranges and pears face challenges due to production issues. Regarding significant import products, bananas and pineapples show increased values (+12.6% and +15.9%) in line with inflation.

Commenting on the 2022 results, Marco Salvi, President of Fruitimprese, emphasizes the overall resilience of the sector, “which confirms the dynamism of companies in both export and import, despite an overall context of significant internal and external challenges.” Fresh produce continues to hold strategic importance for the country’s economy, being the second-largest contributor to agri-food exports after wine, and asserting the made-in-Italy brand in markets around the world. This recognition has been acknowledged at the recent National Fruit and Vegetable Roundtable, thanks to initiatives undertaken by Minister Francesco Lollobrigida, including those related to foreign labor and international training for industry operators.

“The competitiveness of the fruit and vegetable sector,” concludes President Salvi, “has been severely tested throughout 2022 by uncontrollable increases in energy, transportation, packaging, fertilizers, and we continue to advocate for a proper redistribution of costs and responsibilities along the entire production and distribution chain. Our concern also remains strong, expressed in all forums, regarding European issues (packaging and phytosanitary products) and the significant decline in consumption, which we will address in our upcoming assembly on April 20th in Rome.”