The Istat data for the first 4 months of the year 2023, processed by Fruitimprese, highlight a recovery in the export of fruits and vegetables compared to the same period in 2022, with a +2.6% increase in volume and a +6.3% increase in value. The trade balance also improves, although still in negative territory in terms of quantity (imports exceed exports by 97,214 tons, about half of last year’s negative balance), showing an increase in positive balance in value with a +64.4% growth.
So, the export is good but not excellent; the growth rate slows down compared to the first 3 months of the year when the figures were +6.5% in volume and +10.7% in value.
In the first quarter of 2023, the import of fruits and vegetables decreases by -4.1% in volume (compared to -3.9% in the first quarter) and -1.3% in value (compared to -1.8% in the first quarter).
Exports of tubers, vegetables, and legumes increase by +4.2% in volume and +14.3% in value, and citrus exports increase by +1.6% in volume and +12.7% in value. These categories maintain a growth rate compatible with inflation, unlike fresh fruit, which increases by around 2% both in quantity and value.
The export of dried fruits performs poorly, showing a significant decline, especially in value (-22.5%), and importations also decrease significantly (-18.4% in volume and -16.5% in value). This indicates a consumption crisis as well as the presence of an increasing quantity of Italian products in the market, which has seen volumes and areas grow in recent years.
On the import front, the growth of tubers, vegetables, and legumes continues (+7.9% in volume and +17.4% in value), while citrus imports decrease by almost 10% in volume, the same value recorded for tropical fruit imports. Imports of fresh fruit also decline significantly, with a -20.5% decrease in quantity and a -12.3% decrease in value in the first quarter of 2023.
From the analysis of the main exported products, there is a substantial stability in apple exports, a decline in kiwi exports (-1.63% in volume and -9.57% in value), which worsens significantly compared to the first-quarter data, which showed a 15.81% growth in volume and a +2.10% growth in value, due to a reduction in volumes available to operators compared to the same period last year.
Orange exports decline slightly, but they mark a strong +11.66% increase in value, a trend confirmed by lemons and easy-peelers, which perform well both in volume and value.
A separate note on pears, which grow even in triple digits in volume, but are coming off a disastrous year in 2022. We are still far from a “normal” figure, and unfortunately, the 2023 production will not bring satisfaction in this regard.
Finally, imports of pineapples decrease (-3.50% in volume and +0.39% in value), and banana imports decrease (-10.17% in volume and -0.57% in value), demonstrating that the consumption crisis is sparing no one, not even the quintessential “safe haven” fruit.