Faced with the pandemic, Italian fruit and vegetables exports are skyrocketing

In the first quarter of 2020 Italian fruit and vegetables products recorded an increase in export sales, which, despite the lockdown, grew by more than 7% in March alone

The lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic did not stop the exports of Italian fruit and vegetables. This is confirmed by the quarterly report of Fruitimprese. The data for the period January-March 2020 reveal interesting and unexpected results: the fruit and vegetables sector grew by +6.9 in value compared to 2019 (almost 92 million euros), while volumes fell by -4.9%.

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In March, the first month marked by the lockdown, the data show no negative repercussions on exports which, on the contrary, increased by 7.1%. Numerous players, in fact, reported that in the first weeks of the pandemic’s outbreak foreign customers did not reduce requests, but rather implemented a rationalization of orders reducing the variety of references requested and focusing particularly on high-selling citrus fruits.


Italian fruit and vegetables exports in the first quarter therefore closed at around 900 thousand tons of products, worth 1 billion and 291 million euros. Citrus fruits were the protagonists of a real boom in national and international demand (+16.5% in value). In fact, the marketing window had to be closed early due to lack of product. Vegetables also performed well (+8.2% in volume, +11.4% in value). The trend of dried fruit is interesting as well, as sales volumes fell (-6.5%) but in the meantime prices grew (+21.4% in value). The performance of fresh fruit was totally negative, falling by 14.5% in volume and down -3% in value.

Italian fruit and vegetables’ exports in value (thousands euros)

CategoryGen-Mar 2019Gen-Mar 2020Var. %
Citrus Fruits102,531119,466+16.5%
Fresh fruit492,786478,014-3%
Dried fruit107,305130,221+21.4%
Tropical Fruit17,59220,826+18.4%
Source: Fruitimprese

The Italian fruit and vegetables sector – says Marco Salvi, president of Fruitimprese not only held during the emergency, but was able to react promptly by ensuring safe supplies of products to consumers and, at the same time, making workers and work environments safe. The trade balance in the first quarter of the year should be judged positively, even if we are far from what the sector can express in terms of exports. For a concrete relaunch, we are waiting for a political-diplomatic turning point that will support companies in opening new markets in Asia, the Far East and Central America.”

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