Fruit and vegetables accounted for approximately 14 % of the total value of the EU’s agricultural production in 2018. This sector is fundamental for many EU Member States, especially those of the Mediterranean region and some northern and eastern European countries. Moreover, all EU Member States produce at least a few types of fruit and vegetables.
Apples and tomatoes are the main products of the EU’s highly diversified fruit and vegetable farms. These farms are mostly small-sized with relatively high labour input. They earn incomes ranging from average (for fruit specialists) to very high (for horticulture specialists, including also flower and ornamental plant production). In the EU’s fruit and vegetables trade, internal flows exceed external flows. Nevertheless, the EU tends to be a net importer of F&V.
The EU has a comprehensive support system, consisting of a regulatory framework for the common organisation of the markets in agricultural products. It has also developed promotional and quality policies and applies income support and rural development measures. Recent EU legislation imply significant adjustments for the fruit and vegetable sector, whose future will be shaped by its capacity to overcome structural vulnerabilities and weak organisation, while innovating and responding to changing consumer needs.