A few days ago, Cajamar presented its annual "Analysis of the fruit and vegetable campaign of the province of Almeria". One of the most noteworthy statistics revealed by it is that "in the previous fruit and vegetable campaign, 80.1% of Almeria's production was exported; a milestone that highlights the exporting vocation of the largest greenhouse producer in Europe," explains David Uclés, director of the Agrifood Studies Service of the Cajamar Group.
This behavior, however, is not only typical of the province of Almeria; it is a more than evident trend for most Spanish agricultural productions, especially when it comes to horticultural crops. A simple search in the Customs databases shows that, since 1995, the number of tons of fruits and vegetables exported by Spain has increased by 93.6%, reaching 13.7 million tons in 2017, and with half of the growth recorded in the period between 2011 and 2015.
"Obviously, the value of those exports has also grown, but what interests us now is to highlight some issues related to this development. The first is that Spanish fruits and vegetables are very competitive, at least compared to other EU countries, as Spain has managed to sell a much larger volume. The second is that there has been a huge modernization of the crops, since in the period between 2006 and 2016, the productive acreage devoted to vegetables (including potatoes), citrus fruits, non-citrus fruits and nuts has practically not changed, while exports have increased by 32.7%."
All this has taken place at a time when almost no credit "was given in our country because of the global financial crisis, the Euro crisis and that of Spain itself, and during those same years, the supply from third countries has continued to increase in most of the product categories," explains the director of the Agri-Food Studies Service.
But there is a third conclusion, "perhaps a little less obvious, although of paramount importance in an environment in which international trade seems to be demonized. All the growth of the Spanish fruit and vegetable production in recent years has been absorbed by the international market, so our dependence on it is increasingly important. In fact, in recent years, the export quotas of fruit products have reached 75%, while those of vegetables have stood at around 33%," said David Uclés.