Confirming the trends from 2022, the export of fruits and vegetables is showing significant growth in the first quarter of 2023.
The standout performances are in vegetables and legumes (+20.8% in value) and citrus fruits (+15.6%). Fresh fruit is also doing well (+4%). The positive balance (€354.4 million) almost doubles in value compared to 2022, and the quantity gap narrows significantly. Imported quantities decrease visibly (-3.9% in quantity, -1.8% in value), indicating a market contraction in Europe due to inflation and economic difficulties faced by families, leading them to cut expenses they wrongly consider less necessary. This is despite the considerable benefits in terms of well-being and health that fresh fruits and vegetables provide. Similar trends are seen in tropical fruits, which experience a noticeable decline in volume (-10.1%), but maintain higher values (+2.2%). This confirms the signal that emerged in the last months of the previous year, indicating that import values for this product are heavily affected by inflation.
Exports of our main products show relatively constant figures for apples (+1.56%). Kiwis see an increase in quantity but not in value. Oranges, on the other hand, perform exceptionally well with a +13.69% increase in value.
Pear exports are particularly noteworthy, showing positive signs. However, when compared to the disastrous year of 2021, the figures for the first quarter of 2023 almost exactly mirror those of 2020, but are much worse than the figures for 2021, when 35,000 tons were exported, valued at 47 million euros.
Lemons, mandarins, and clementines are performing very well, reflecting a strong first quarter for our citrus fruits. There’s also a significant decrease in the quantity of imports for these citrus fruits. Bananas continue the trend of tropical fruits in general, with decreasing volumes and slightly increasing values. Pineapple imports remain stable.
“The revival of consumption remains the main objective for the coming months,” comments Marco Salvi, the president of Fruitimprese. “Unfortunately, this intention doesn’t seem to be supported by the European Union, from which an increase in promotional budget was expected. Instead, the proposal for 2024 recently announced goes in the opposite direction with a decrease of 1 million euros for the multinational programs in the fruit and vegetable sector.”
Salvi concludes, “The Commission’s behavior remains incomprehensible, if not schizophrenic, as it proclaims through the Farm to Fork strategy that it wants to encourage the consumption of fresh products, yet takes no concrete steps in this direction. Instead, it proposes impractical solutions such as regulations on pesticides and packaging.”