The negative trend of Italian exports continued during the first semester of 2019. According to the Fruitimprese processing of Istat data, an increase of exported volumes (6.8%) was met with a 3.5% drop in value. The balance went from the €320 million of June 2018 to the current €73 million (-77%).
Imports are increasing (not just tropical fruit, but pulses/vegetables and fresh fruit as well) both in volume (0.3%) and value (8.9%). During the period examined, Italy exported around 1.7 million tons for a value of €2.1 billion and imported 1.9 million tons for a value just over €2 billion.
When it comes to exports, vegetable volumes were stable while citrus fruits dropped (-9.7%). The sign was positive for fresh fruit (16.7%) and dried fruit (19.6%). As for the turnover, vegetables (0.6%) and dried fruit (7.6%) grew while citrus fruit (-5.4%) and fresh fruit (-8.5%) dropped. When it comes to imports, there was an increase in the volumes of vegetables (3.9%), fresh fruit (2.3%) and dried fruit (14.7%) while the sign was negative for tropical fruit (-7.4%) and citrus fruit (-2.4%). In terms of turnover, vegetables (32.6%) and dried fruit (15.9%) saw an increase while citrus fruit (-19.6%), fresh fruit (-2.8%) and tropical fruit (-1.6%) dropped.
Marco Salvi, president of Fruitimprese
Fruitimprese president Marco Salvi reports that "the data relating to the first semester of the year confirmed the weakness of Italian exports, amplified by a drop in the average prices of our products: our quality grows but value drops. Imports have increased, which is a further confirmation of the fact that Italian businesses are losing their competitiveness. To restore it, extensive reforms are needed as well as considerable resources."
"In order to try and invert this worrying negative trend, we are asking for the support of the institutions and government, so our high-quality productions such as apples, pears, kiwifruits, table grapes and citrus fruits can reach faraway markets (China, Asia, South Africa and Mexico) where our products are appreciated and demanded."
"The positive thing is that our apples are about to land in Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan and that, since last February, our kiwifruits have been available in Mexico. But it is not enough. We need to set up a task force of technicians at the Ministry to work on and close phytosanitary dossiers that could open up the Chinese market to our pears and apples. We hope new minister Teresa Bellanova will help us, as she has put a strong focus on internationalization."