Exports: Pressure on the fruit and vegetable sector

Greek fruit and vegetable exports

The Red Sea crisis affects the international trade of goods, impacting the fruit and vegetable sector, namely citruses, strawberries, tomatoes, cherries, apples, cucumbers, kiwis, peaches and nectarines, melons and watermelons.

Regarding oranges in particular, the volume of fruit sent from Egypt to other continents was redirected and ended up in Europe, putting pressure on prices, as indicated in the latest Incofruit report. At the same time, the devaluation of the Egyptian pound, due to the monetary liberalization policies required by the IMF, has made Egyptian oranges even more competitive in the European market. This has lead to an exports decrease of Greek oranges by 13.3%, to 281,772 tons, and mandarins by 11%, to 137,944 tons. Orange imports as of 1/1/24 stood at 2,000 tons versus 700 last year, of which 600 tons were imported in May, mostly from Egypt.

Year-to-date strawberry exports are estimated to have reached 73,400 tons, up 5.1% from the same period in 2023, with demand steadily rising.

In the same period, tomato exports are estimated to have reached 25,500 tons, compared to 27,700 tons in the corresponding period of 2023, reduced by 7.9%. It is pointed out that tomato imports have already intensified, reaching around 1,400 tons to date (compared to 590 last year). The 850 tons came from Turkey.

Exports of very early cherries also began, with the quantities exported to date amounting to approximately 3,000 tons. Information indicates that the Turkish cherry season is positive, with good volumes and good quality.

Apple exports continue at a low rate. From 1/9/23 to 24/5/24 they amounted to 36,099 tons, compared to 65,393 tons in the corresponding period last year.

Cucumber exports between 1/9/23 and 24/5/24 amounted to 69,792 tons, compared to 65,134 last year, recording an increase of 7.2%

Kiwifruit exports from 1/9/2023 to 24/5/2024 amounted to 188,745 tons, down 12.5% ​​from the corresponding 2022/23 period.

Melons – Watermelons
The harvest has started with a normal export flow of watermelons & melons, and the quantities exported to date amounting to approximately 51,000 tons and 700 tons, respectively. According to Incofruit, it is to be noted that there are import (starting from 1/4/24) of approximately 250 tons of watermelons from Iran, Spain and 200 tons of melons from Egypt, the Netherlands and Iran.

Peaches – Nectarines
Last, but not least, according to last week’s estimates (for 2024 peach and nectarine production until 21/5), Greek production is estimated at almost 370,000 tons, up 8% from last year and 23% above the 2018/2022 average. For pavia peaches, 2024 production is 345,000 tons, which is at 2023 levels and 9% below the 2018/2022 average. It is noted that based on Eurostat data, peaches production in our country in 2022 amounted to 749,953 tons, with an estimate for 2023 at 696,564 tons and of nectarines at 142,329 tons.

Incofruit estimates regarding 2024, based on weather conditions to date, are 710,000 tons of peaches and 155,000 tons of nectarines.