In the first three months of this year, French imports of fresh fruit and vegetables were 5% smaller than in those same months last year. The trend was roughly the same in all three months. Also it was less compared to the years before; 2018 -2% and 2017 -5%.
In the first quarter of this year, imports from the Netherlands lagged far behind those in 2019 than on average. In total, France imported 35,700 tonnes of Dutch product in the first three months of this year, compared to 42,700 tonnes in the first three months of 2019. In all three months of January, February and March, there was an increasingly downward trend, namely a minus of resp. 12, 16 and 21%. Of all major products, significantly less was imported: tomatoes - 24%, onions -10%, pears -19%, carrots -14%.
Total French imports of tomatoes, pears and carrots showed a normal picture. In addition to the Netherlands, less onions were imported from other countries.
Dutch exports to France: two thirds re-exports
With regard to total French imports, the picture for large products in the first quarter was not exceptional. Exceptions were: avocados -7%, pineapples -13%, apples -42% (!) And strawberries -11%. In addition to the Netherlands, much less was also imported from Costa Rica (pineapple) in the first quarter.
Spain was by far the most important supplier. Imports from Spain decreased slightly. Morocco was the second supplier. Imports from that country grew slightly. At a distance from the big two: Belgium, Ivory Coast, Italy, Israel and then the Netherlands.
The figures for France refer to the Dutch product for the Netherlands. Remarkably, re-exports are not included in the Eurostat figure for French imports. According to the French figure, imports from the Netherlands (Dutch product) amounted to 214,000 tonnes on an annual basis in 2019. In the past year, exports from the Netherlands to France, including re-exports, amounted to 640,000 tonnes.
In other words, two thirds of Dutch exports to France were re-exports in 2019.
French exports have grown slightly
French exports of fresh fruit and vegetables in the first quarter were slightly (3%) higher than last year. Compared to the first quarter of 2018, it was also slightly more but in the first quarter more was carried out in 2017.
Apples were the most important product. Although more than 10% more imports were made in the first quarter compared to last year, the previous years were even higher.
Tomato exports were significantly higher in the first quarter than in the same period in the preceding years. This mainly concerns the re-export of Moroccan product. In the first quarter France imported 140,000 tonnes of Moroccan tomatoes and 36,000 tonnes from Spain. French cauliflower exports fell sharply in the first quarter.
Less to Spain and Italy; more to the Netherlands and Belgium
Customers noticed that in the first quarter less was delivered to the southern neighbouring countries of Spain and Italy. On the other hand, exports to Portugal did grow considerably (67%). More went to the main customer Germany (5%). Exports to EU dropouts in the United Kingdom remained stable and exports to the Netherlands were slightly (4%) higher. Export to Belgium grew very strongly, by almost 30%.