Exports of fresh fruits and vegetables moved into positive territory in the first two months of 2023. According to the latest data from ELSTAT, which was processed by Association of Greek Fruit, Vegetable and Juice Exporting Companies INCOFRUIT – HELLAS, shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables in January and February 2023 increased by 29% in volume compared to the same months in 2022, reaching 349,323 tons. Also, the value of exports in the first two months of 2023 increased by 28.7%, compared to the same period in 2022, now reaching 300.695 million euros.

In detail, in the two months of January-February, vegetable exports increased by 19% in volume compared to the same months in 2022 (42,344 tons in 2023 – 35,574 tons in 2022) and in value by 31.2%, reaching 47.5 million euros against 36.2 million euros in 2022. Regarding fruit exports, in the first two months of 2023 it increased in volume by 30.5%, (306,979 tons in 2023 – 235,249 tons in 2022) and in value by 28.2% (253.19 million euros in 2023 – 197.4 million euros in 2022).

As the special advisor of the Association of Hellenic Companies Exporting Fruits, Vegetables and Juices INCOFRUIT – HELLAS, Giorgos Polychronakis, stated to the Athenian – Macedonian News Agency, “in the fruit sector, kiwis, strawberries and mandarins are the main players, while in the horticultural sector, potatoes and tomatoes ».

And he added “this January, the increase in exports of the last quarter of 2022 continued compared to the corresponding month of 2021, by 24% in volume and by 25.7% in value, with the weighted average export prices slightly improving (+1 .4%) not covering, however, the increase in production costs”.

February developed particularly dynamically, as exports increased by 34.9% in volume and 31.9% in value compared to the same month in 2022, while the weighted average price decreased by 2.2%. “The stability in the weighted average selling prices (-0.2%) in the first two months of this year does not, however, contribute to the main products in covering the costs which have increased by 30-35%” underlines Mr. Polychronakis.

Exports at a good level in March as well – Concern about imports

According to provisional data, exports of fresh fruit and vegetables in March appear to have increased by 49.2% in volume compared to the same month in 2022. winter fruits and mainly citrus fruits and strawberries”, the special advisor of the Association Giorgos Polychronakis told APE-MBE.

According to him “the market stabilized, but in the weeks before Easter the prices of vegetables were constantly increasing. However, after the end of the Easter holiday season and increased demand, prices stabilized as markets that faced most of the shortages, expanded imports from third countries and brought in the first spring-summer fruits and vegetables.”

There was a correspondingly worrying development in the imports of fresh fruits and vegetables. More specifically, in the first two months of 2023 imports increased by 9.4% in volume while they decreased by 1.7% in value.

“Atypical products are traded”

Polychronakis speaks for the distribution of unstandardized products directly from the field, without their packaging being done by standardization units and without the prescribed marking for their origin. As he noted speaking to APE-MPE “the sector has been shaken both by the increase in production costs (energy, production inputs), the consequences of the lack of land workers and the effects of climate change that have affected production”.

Mr. Polychronakis emphasizes that checks must be increased in order to avoid the phenomena of “trafficking of unstandardized fruits and vegetables mainly to neighboring markets in order not to damage the reputation of excellent Greek products”. Finally, he points out that the producers will “have to be supported due to the increased production costs, in order to restore the competitiveness of the products, while initiatives should also be taken to solve the issue that has arisen with the lack of land workers”.