EU fruit and vegetable exports have fallen dramatically over the past year due to the strength of the euro.

Exports of fresh fruit from the 27 members of the European Union fell 7.2% by value, with vegetables down by 12.4%.

Although fruit volumes rose 11.9% over the period, veg declined 7.7%.

“EU exporters have remained handicapped by the high value of the euro on the external market as well as the lack of support mechanisms such as export credit schemes and export refunds that the EU dismantled with the latest CMO reform,” said Philippe Binard of fresh produce association Freshfel Europe.

Russia is the leading destination for EU produce, taking 38% of export volumes, ahead of the Ukraine, Switzerland and Norway.

Freshfel said the EU must work harder to boost trade to China and India, which currently take less than 5,000 tonnes of produce from the bloc.

“More efforts still need to be undertaken at EU level to move towards greater reciprocity in trade… and other important aspects such as competitiveness and promotion,” added Freshfel export division chairman Willem Baljeu.

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