Spain is known around the world for its outstanding wines, its incredible Ibérico ham, and its tapas tradition, but it has another claim to fame: it’s the leading exporter of fresh fruits and vegetables in the world.
Each year, Spain exports around 12 million tons of fruits and veggies, worth over 12 billion euros, figures which have remained more or less stable for the last two years but which have increased slightly in the first seven months of this year, according to freshplaza.com
The bulk, or 60%, of those exports come from just three Spanish provinces: Murcia, which is responsible mainly for lettuce, cabbage, melons and grapes; Valencia, the citrus capital of Spain; and Almeria, which yields cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and bell peppers.
Spanish oranges, followed by tangerines, are the country’s leading export products. Other leading fruits and vegetables include tomatoes, peaches and nectarines, bell peppers, watermelon, cucumbers, lemons, lettuce, and melons and products for which exports are on the rise include eggplant, garlic, strawberries, onions, plums, carrots, grapes and avocados, among others.
In terms of export markets, 93% of exports headed to EU countries in 2016, with Germany, France, the UK and the Netherlands accounting for the majority. However, Spanish producers are looking to expand into other areas, focusing on Latin America, South and East Asia, and the Gulf countries.
Spanish citrus fruits, such as oranges and tangerines, are the most popular products, while eggplant, garlic, strawberry and onion exports are on the rise