The majority of Europe’s stone fruit is imported from other EU Member States. In 2014 and 2015, the EU had to absorb more stone fruit from local production due to the Russian trade embargo. This resulted in an almost 30% decrease in imports from developing countries compared to 2013. In 2016, this import volume recovered completely.
Almost half of the 188,000 tonnes of stone fruit from developing countries is imported by the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The Netherlands re-exports most of these to other European markets, while the United Kingdom is mostly an end market.
When including intra-European trade figures, Germany is the largest importing country of stone fruit in Europe with 474,000 tonnes in 2016. After Germany, the largest importers are France (216,000 tonnes), the UK (180,000 tonnes), Italy (146,000 tonnes) and Poland (110,000 tonnes).
Because Europe produces stone fruit in large volumes, imports from developing countries are mainly counter-seasonal from January to March and mostly to northern European countries. The largest suppliers from outside Europe are Turkey, South Africa and Chile.
Turkey is an important supplier of fresh cherries to the EU (43,000 tonnes in 2016), also during the European seasonal months June and July; South Africa is a main supplier of plums (44,000 tonnes); Chile exports both plums and cherries (21,000 and 10,000 tonnes, respectively).
There is a slightly growing market for stone fruit in Europe, but competition is fierce. Importers in the European market favour larger producers because of supply certainty.
Read the full report from the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries here