For the 8th year running, Portugal Fresh – the Association for the Promotion of Fruits, Vegetables and Flowers from Portugal is going to take part in Fruit Attraction, one of the biggest fruit and vegetable fairs in the world, which is taking place in Madrid from 23rd to 25th October. In total, 42 companies, associations and partners are going to show the best of what is produced in Portugal to more than 70 thousand visitors from 120 countries. For the first time, the association has an area of over 500 square metres, an increase of 22% compared to the previous edition.
Spain, which has 47 million inhabitants, is Portugal’s biggest trading partner and the most important domestic fruit and vegetable customer. In 2017, sales from this segment to the Spanish market totalled 450 million euros, up 13.6% on the previous year (396 million). The producers’ goal now is to reach the 500 million euros mark. “If we maintain the same average annual growth rate that we’ve been seeing since 2010, which is around 10%, we can aspire to reach that figure very soon”, says the CEO and chairman of Portugal Fresh, Gonçalo Santos Andrade.
Between January and July 2018, there was a year-on-year drop (-1%) in exports (from 948 million to 939 million euros), as a consequence of the prolonged drought that extended until February and the subsequent late rains this spring and summer, which delayed the start of the marketing season and jeopardised the average sale price of the majority of domestic fruit and vegetable products. Sales to Spain during that period fell by 0.2%, standing at 223.4 million euros. Gonçalo Santos Andrade believes that performance does not undermine the aspirations of the domestic producers. The association is maintaining its objective of reaching 2.000 million euros in exports in 2020, its participation in the biggest international fairs being part of that promotion strategy.
Spain represents 30.5% of Portuguese exports of fruit, vegetables and flowers, followed by France (12.1%), the United Kingdom (9.4%), the Netherlands (8.2%) and Germany (6.3%).
Overall, exports from the segment increased by 12% in 2017, reaching 1.472 million euros and accounting for 55% of domestic production. This performance helped to reduce the fruit, vegetables and flowers trade balance deficit: in 2017, exports amounted to 91.8% of imports (which stood at 1,603 million euros); in 2010, exports only covered 64.6% of imports.
By: Joana Madeira Pereira