Fruit, veg exports break €1B in H1 for first time ever

  • Lusa
  • 14 August 2023

The results "counteract the downward trend in the value of exports that Portugal recorded in the first half and "confirm the strategic importance of the sector".

Exports of fruit, vegetables and flowers from Portugal broke the sales record in the first half of the year, exceeding €1 billion, Portugal Fresh – Association for the Promotion of Fruits, Vegetables and Flowers of Portugal announced on Monday.

“This is the first time that the international sales of this sector exceed, in the first six months of the year, the barrier of one billion euros”, with €1.034 billion, Portugal Fresh said in a press release.

“Fruits, vegetables and flowers produced in Portugal are increasingly valued in international markets, and this positive evolution in exports is the result of a work done by the sector, increasingly modern and technological, market-oriented and investing a lot in knowledge and innovation”, justified the president of the association, Gonçalo Andrade, quoted in the same note.

He added that there has been an “increasingly professional approach to product enhancement”, focusing on international promotion, branding and maximising the added value of products, despite the context of market uncertainty and the challenges to production resulting from climate change, with significant reductions in quantity.

According to the association, the results “counteract the downward trend in the value of exports that Portugal recorded in the first half and “confirm the strategic importance of the sector”.

In this sense, the leader warned of the “need to valorise the agri-food sector, through the adoption, by the Government, of effective management policies for fundamental resources such as water and designed for the real needs of producers and companies, and which do not always remain meagre” when compared to those adopted by the governments of other European countries.

More than 80% of the sector’s sales were made to Spain (33%), France (14%), the Netherlands (13%), Germany (8%), the United Kingdom (7%), Belgium (4%) and Japan (3%).

The largest growth in the value of exports is recorded in vegetables (up 24% compared to the first half of 2022) and preparations of vegetables and fruit (up 18%).

Fruit, on the other hand, recorded a decrease in exports of 3% compared to the first half of 2022.

The same trend was followed by ornamental plants and flowers (down 3%).

Analysing international sales by quantity, there was a decrease of 12.9%, explained by the significant reduction of some products resulting from climate change. The sharpest drop in terms of volume is in ornamental plants and flowers (24%) and then fruits and vegetables (18%).

In 2022, Portuguese exports of fruit, vegetables and flowers exceeded the €2bn barrier for the first time.

The main products exported were processed tomatoes (€330 million), small fruits (€260 million), citrus fruits (€172 million), pears (€111 million) and fresh tomatoes (€79 million).