South Africa and India have gained relevance this year for Extremadura's fruit exporters within the framework of a strategy to grow in countries where not many trade relations has yet been established.
The manager of the Association of Fruit Growers from Extremadura (Afruex), Miguel Ángel Gómez, explained that non-EU countries have imported around 30% of the region's entire production so far this year.
South Africa, India and other Middle Eastern and South American countries have all grown as importers, as a result not only of the initiatives carried out by Afruex, but also to the greater interest from those markets in Extremadura's fruit.
This growth has arrived at the expense of Brazil, which although remaining as the main destination for Extremadura's fruit, has gone from purchasing 80% of the region's exports outside of the EU down to just 60% this year. Of the 1,300 containers (around 26,000 tonnes) of Extremaduran stonefruit shipped to non-EU countries, 700 have been imported by the South American country.
The European Union receives around 70% of Extremadura's production; a percentage which has remained stable in recent years, as pointed out by the manager of Afruex. Miguel Ángel Gómez stated that the opening of new markets and the geographical diversification are positive for the sector.
Despite the good exporting results, this year's production has been smaller than in previous seasons, as just under 200,000 tonnes have been produced, which represents about 50% of the region's full potential.
The winter and spring rains, floods and cold temperatures were the main causes for the lower production volumes. Other regions, like Catalonia, and countries, such as Greece and Italy, have also experienced a drop in production volumes. Plums are the most exported fruit by Extremadura, followed by nectarines and peaches.