The volume of the Region of Murcia's horticultural exports during the 2017-18 campaign grew by 2.6% compared to the previous season, reaching 2,519,865 tons (about 20% of Spain's entire volume), as reported by the Association of Producers-Exporters of Fruits and Vegetables of the Region of Murcia (PROEXPORT).
"The dynamism of the regional sector is undeniable, because in an environment of strong competition, low profitability and with the Russian veto still in force, the value of our exports managed to remain stable at 2,471 million Euro, which is 19.2% of the total at national level. These figures are very similar to those of the previous campaign. The average price per kilo stood at € 0.93 in the case of vegetables and € 1.03 in the case of fruits," says the director of Proexport, Fernando P. Gómez.
By countries, Germany has been once again the main destination of Murcia's fruit and vegetable exports, with 634,380 tons; 26.3% of the total exported by the Region in the previous campaign. Proexport is closely following the Brexit negotiations between the EU and the United Kingdom, since this country is the second most important destination for Murcian fruits and vegetables, with 482,713 tons exported, which represents 20% of the total. France is in third place with 400,466 tons, 16.6% of the total.
Growth in a decade
According to Gómez, "the remarkable improvement in the export figures observed over the last ten years is due to various factors, namely the expansion in the number of export markets for our fruits and vegetables, with 73 countries at the moment, the good agronomic and varietal work developed by Murcian fruit and vegetable companies, and the increasingly healthy diets of consumers."
This is shown by official data. During the 2007/08 season, Murcia shipped 1.8 million tons of fruit and vegetables outside Spain; ten years later, these figures have increased by 37.5%, exceeding 2.5 million tons. The record volume of exports was reached during the 2012-2013 campaign, when 2.67 million tons were exported.
The director of Proexport said that "this Region can be proud of having created more than 100,000 jobs and offered countless job opportunities thanks to the fact that its horticultural exports have grown from 1,445 million Euro in 2008 to 2,471 million today. The agricultural sector has managed to generate employment in sectors as diverse as food handling, perishable logistics, field harvesting, international marketing, agricultural technology and machinery or plant genomics research."
Leadership in vegetables
In the vegetable sector, the Region of Murcia has increased its export volume by 6.5% during the latest campaign, reaching 1,314,035 tons. The increase in terms of value has been more moderate, with a 2.2% growth compared to the 2016-2017 campaign, reaching 1,224 million Euro. That the Region of Murcia is called "Europe's orchard" is based on the fact that 25% of all Spanish exports come from this Region.
By crops, lettuce (all its varieties) is the product with the greatest contribution to Murcia's fruit and vegetable exports. In the 2017-2018 campaign, shipments grew by 7.9% compared to the previous season, reaching 576,598 tons worth 463.8 million Euro (2.4% more). The Region of Murcia accounts for 70.2% of all the lettuce exported by Spain.
Next in the ranking is the group of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and others), which generated 347.1 million Euro, 0.3% more than in the previous season. The volume exported amounted to 343,393 tons, 7.3% more. Murcia accounts for 70.1% of the country's total cruciferous vegetable exports, with broccoli representing the greatest volume.
Tomatoes have recorded an 11.6% recovery in the export volume in the 2017-2018 season, going from 86,668 to 96,696 tons. In terms of value, they grew by 2.2% and stood at 82.7 million Euro. The Region of Murcia's production concentrates in the coastal area of Mazarrón, Águilas and Lorca, and accounts for 11.6% of the national tomato exports.
Peppers have seen a decline in exports, both in terms of volume (-4.3%), with 80,089 tons exported, and in terms of value (-0.5%), with 100.8 million Euro. Its production is mostly grown in the region of Campo de Cartagena and is marketed mainly through companies and horticultural auctions adhered to Proexport.
Fruits and citrus fruits
The Region's fresh fruit exports dropped by 7.9% in the 2017/18 campaign, down to 1,205,830 tons worth 1,246 million Euro. Lemons account for the largest volume in this area, with 370,190 tons exported (8.2% less) worth 406.4 million Euro (3.6% less than in the previous season).
The Region of Murcia exports 54.9% of all Spanish melons taking all varieties into account. Melon exports fell by 8.3% last season, reaching 215,890 tons worth 170.5 million Euro (9% more).
Watermelons, with 171,735 tons exported, registered a slight 0.4% drop in the past year, while their value reached 72.3 million Euro, down 7.3%.
As for table grapes, the value of the Region's exports equaled that of the previous season (182.4 million Euro), with 88,575 tons shipped (11.3% less in terms of volume). 62.6% of the table grapes exported by Spain came from Murcia.
 Campaign period between September 1, 2017 and August 31, 2018.