Fruit, vegetable, plant exports rise 4.4% to €1.68B in 2020

  • Lusa
  • 11 February 2021

Exports of fruit, vegetables, ornamental plants and flowers rose 4.4% in value in 2020, with Spain being the lead destinations of Portuguese exports in this sector.

Exports of fruit, vegetables, ornamental plants and flowers rose 4.4% in value to 1.68 billion euros in 2020, according to data from Portugal Statistics (INE), cited by Portugal Fresh.

“Between January and December 2020, the fruit, vegetables, ornamental plants and flowers sector grew by 4.4% in value compared to the same period in 2019, reaching 1.68 billion euros, according to data published by INE,” Portugal Fresh said in a statement.

However, they fell 0.9% in volume to 1,589,000 tonnes.

Spain continued to lead the destinations of Portuguese exports in this sector, representing 32.9% of total sales, or 553 million euros.

It is followed by France with 12.8% (216 million euros), the Netherlands with 10.4% (174 million euros), the United Kingdom with 9.1% (153 million euros) and Germany with 7.1% (119 million euros).

“The European Union alone accounts for 78% of the sector’s foreign sales. Third countries represent 22% of exports (365 million euros),” pointed out PortugalFresh – Association for the Promotion of Fruit, Vegetables and Flowers of Portugal, which was set up in 2010.

The fruit segment accounted for 47% of total exports in the sector, up 1% on the previous year, to 793 million euros, followed by fruit and vegetable preparations, which weighed 28%, also up 1% year-on-year, to 467 million euros.

In turn, ornamental plants and flowers made up 6%, equivalent to 107 million euros.

Vegetables, meanwhile, weigh 19% of the exports of the sector, or 217 million euros, a decrease of 2% compared to 2019.

In the last decade, exports from this sector have more than doubled (115%) in value.

For the president of this association, Gonçalo Santos Andrade, these results are very positive for the sector, especially in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The investment that has been made in the sector and the commitment of producers to modernise the entire production system has made it possible to grow and improve systematically over the last ten years, which means that production of Portuguese origin is now a supplier of excellence, both for the European market and America and Asia,” he noted.

He also stressed that agriculture needs to accelerate its digital transition and continue to diversify markets.

On the other hand, it is also necessary to continue to guarantee investment in technology and innovation, which should be accompanied by strategic public investment in infrastructures, namely those related to efficient water management”.

The president of Portugal Fresh foresees that 2021 will be a year with many challenges, such as the reduction in family income, which could retract consumption and, consequently, impact sales.