For the first time, the Region of Murcia exceeded 2,500 million euros in exported fruit and vegetables, a figure that meant a 3.1% increase compared to 2107.
The abovementioned invoicing corresponds to 2,506,301 tonnes of fresh produce. In just a decade, from 2008 to 2018, Murcia has increased its export potential by 43.3% (in 2008 it exported 1.7 million tonnes.)
Vegetables are on the rise, while fruit is dropping
The German market absorbs 25% of the region’s exports. This percentage is translated into 627 million euros and 663,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetable produce. The United Kingdom is the second best client, with 580 million euros and 517,464 tns, which means 23.2% of the total; and France is in third place with 415 million euros and 414,358 tns, making up 16.6% of the shipments from Murcia.
However, the behaviour of foreign fruit and vegetable sales is highly divergent: while the former are dropping, the latter are on the rise. Fruit exports fell by 5%, with a volume of 1,214,190 tons and a total value of 1.28 million euros.
With regard to vegetables as a whole, there was a 4.8% increase in the exported volume; the figure was specifically 1,292,111 tonnes and 1.22 million euros. Vegetables from Murcia form the mainstay of Spanish global exports, as they represent 23.1% of the total in this category.
European mouths continue to maintain the Spanish agricultural sector and this is also the case for Murcia. In spite of the enormous effort by the different private sectors and the public authorities to obtain a diversification of the destinations in order to relieve the Old Continent as the recipient, 2018 represented a step backwards in achieving this goal, as sales outside the EU were reduced by 10% with an invoicing of 534 million euros, a fact that reflects the difficulties and obstacles existing to access a wide group of third countries.
The only exception to this trend was the good purchasing behaviour of Canada. Once its trade agreement with the EU came into effect, exports grew by 36%, with a value of 93 million euros.
All kinds of cabbages for Germany
Sales from Murcia of the cabbage group (broccoli, cauliflowers and others) to the German market meant revenue of around 336.3 million euros and sold produce volume of 339,286 tonnes, a figure that rose by almost 8% with respect to 2017.
The complex commercial situation of the United Kingdom reduced exports to this historic destination: from the 112,000 tons shipped in 2017, exports dropped to 106,600 tns.
Murcia also found a very visual place on markets such as Poland and Portugal. Poland took the plunge and increased its purchases from 9,700 tns to 16,180, which in value meant 13.6 million euros.
Cauliflowers from Murcia saw an important upswing in sales (8.8%), exceeding 25,000 tns. This increase is due to the commitment to new varieties, with high quality standards, both in the product formation and in its colour, overtaking French productions.
Another of the “greens”, lettuce, increased its international trade, getting close to the ceiling of 800,000 tonnes on a national scale. Of the total exported lettuces, 504,249 tonnes correspond to the iceberg type and the remaining percentage is divided up into other types such as romaine, oak leaf, lollo, little gem, etc.
Lettuce is the category where Spain suffers least competition from other production areas, mainly during the winter. Italy and Portugal haven’t managed to extend their cycles and Spain continues to be the favourite source on European supermarket shelves.
An unusual phenomenon, such as the lack of rainfall in central and northern Europe in the summer, encouraged the presence of Spanish leaves on the markets in the summertime.
Once again, the Region of Murcia leads exports on a national scale, with 554.971 tonnes and a commercial value of 469 million euros. Murcia is indispensable for the European supermarket shelves during the winter and the spring.
Poland and the United Kingdom were two destinations where the region increased its exports. The Polish market absorbed 23% more of product than the preceding year, and the United Kingdom 7.5%.
Both destinations shared interests in the large retailers, as Poland supplies British requirements, therefore the drop in production in Poland determined the nature of the British supermarket chains’ demand in some categories.
The importance of the companies linked to Proexport in this category meant 35% of Spanish exports.
Germany, a significant pepper purchaser
Once again, Germany increased its sales to Spain by 11% at the expense of other autumn and summer sources.
The development of Spanish peppers on international markets has turned this category into the third produce on international markets from Spain, only surpassed by tomatoes and leafy vegetables.
During the spring months, pepper production in Murcia is essential for European supermarkets. Its figures are consolidated and during 2018 it exported 80,527 tonnes, with a turnover that reached 100 million euros. The auctions in the region supply over 70,000 tonnes of produce.
France, Italy and Germany are the main markets, with Germany continuing to extend the weeks on the supermarket shelves, taking space away from the Dutch offer.