Germany, France, Netherlands and UK EU's top horticultural importers
This is a period in which intra-EU trade amounted to 32.8 million tonnes, according to Eurostat data.
The share of each of these four countries has hardly changed in the period from January to October of the last two years. From January to October 2017, Germany's imports stood at 7.7 million tonnes, 23.5% of the total, while in the same period of 2016 it was 23.4%.
Imports from France stood at 3.7 million tonnes, 11.3% of the total, and in 2016, the share stood at 11%.
Purchases from the Netherlands amounted to 3.2 million tonnes, 10% of the total, the same percentage as in 2016, and purchases from the United Kingdom stood at 2.7 million tonnes, 8.4% of the total, compared to 8.8% in 2016. Spain accounted for 5.2% of all intra-EU imports of fruit and vegetables.
As regards extra-EU trade; that is, EU imports of fruit and vegetables from third countries, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium lead the ranking. The Netherlands imported 3,145,000 tonnes, 23% of the total; Italy imported 2,409,000 tonnes, 18.2%, and Belgium 1,441,000 tonnes, 10.9%.
The main reason why these three countries are so dominant is due, to a large extent, to their geographical and logistical position, with important ports of entry.
Spain imported 943,167 tonnes of fruit and vegetables from third countries, accounting for 7.1% of the total purchased by the EU from third countries, according to Eurostat data up to October.
In a product analysis, the weight of intra-EU fruit and vegetable trade is balanced between vegetables and fruit, with each of these representing approximately 50%.
Meanwhile, purchases to third countries are dominated by fruit, with 85.6% of the total in the period from January to October 2017.
Bananas are the most important fruit in terms of import volume, with almost 5 million tonnes, followed by citrus fruits, with 2,088,000 tonnes, pineapples, avocados and dates, with 1,554,000 tonnes, grapes with 817,000 tonnes, and melons and watermelons, with 675,000 tonnes.
For FEPEX, it is worth noting how Spain is becoming an increasingly important player in the import trade of fruits and vegetables from both the EU and third countries, with a total volume of 2,667,000 tonnes from January to October 2017; 4% more than in the same period of 2016. ■