The prospects for the EU fruit and vegetable sector

Wed 08/05/2019 by Richard Wilkinson
The prospects for the EU fruit and vegetable sector

According to the European Parliament Think Tank, fruit and vegetables represented around 14% of the total value of the EU’s agricultural production in 2018. All EU Member States produce at least a few types of fruit and vegetables, with apples and tomatoes the main products of the continent. This sector is of particular importance in the Mediterranean region and in some northern and eastern European countries. Most EU farms are small-sized with relatively high labour input. Incomes for fruit specialists are rated as average, while the earnings of horticulture specialists can be very high. The EU imports more fruit and vegetables than it exports, and has a regulatory framework in place to organise the markets of agricultural products, with rules on producer organisations and their operational programmes, crisis management and marketing standards. The EU also promotes healthy diets through its school fruit and vegetables scheme, and promotes quality policies, offers income support and implements rural development measures. The challenge for EU agriculture is now to overcome structural vulnerabilities and weak organisation, adopt innovation and respond to the needs of tomorrow’s consumers.

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