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How did Spanish fruit and vegetable exports do in 2023?

In 2023, Spanish fresh fruit and vegetable exports saw a 6% drop in terms of volume compared to the previous year, totaling 11.3 million tons, while their value grew by the same percentage, reaching €16.855 billion, according to data from the Department of Customs and Special Taxes. This data also revealed a 7% growth in the import volume and a 19% increase in the value.

The decline in the export volume was greater in the case of fruits, with a 7.7% drop compared to 2022, totaling 6.2 million tons, while the value grew by 1%, amounting to €8.972 billion. Citrus fruits saw a decline in the export volume, and berries also experienced downturns, with strawberries dropping by 11%, to 246,308 tons; blueberries by 15%, to 73,508 tons; and raspberries by 17%, to 55,878 tons. Stone fruits, on the other hand, showed a more positive trend, with peaches and nectarines growing by 25% to 327,888 tons and nectarines by 8%. Watermelons stood at the same volume as in 2022, with 678,822 tons.

Vegetable exports decreased by 3% compared to 2022, totaling 5.2 million tons, with declines recorded by the main vegetables sold abroad: peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and cabbages. Pepper exports stood at 710,780 tons (-11%); lettuce at 706,760 tons (-1%); cucumbers reached 667,546 tons (-4%); tomatoes, 558,514 tons (-11%) and cabbages, 469,804 tons (-6%). The total value of vegetable exports grew by 11%, reaching €7.883 billion.

Regarding destination countries, the EU-27 accounted for 83% of Spain's total exports in 2023, totaling 9.4 million tons. This percentage rises to 97% when considering Europe as a whole (including countries like the United Kingdom, Switzerland or Norway). According to FEPEX, this shows the limited presence of Spanish products in non-European markets, a consequence of the difficulties in accessing non-EU markets, which mostly depends on the negotiation of specific protocols between the member state and the third country, negotiations that can last between 2 and 5 years. According to FEPEX, this contrasts with the ease that third-country productions have to access the EU.

In Spain, the import of fruits and vegetables continued its upward trend in 2023, growing by 7% in terms of volume and by 19% in terms of value compared to 2022, totaling 4.1 million tons and €4.473 billion, respectively. Over the last 5 years, it has grown by 28% in terms of volume and by 51% in terms of value.

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