Spain's fruit and vegetable exporters expect supplies to improve soon

MADRID, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Spain’s vegetable and fruit production is recovering after taking a hit from adverse weather conditions, and supplies for export markets should improve soon, the country’s FEPEX association of exporters of fresh products said on Thursday.

In Britain, which is particularly reliant on Spain, supermarkets this week started limiting purchases of tomatoes after supplies were hit by crop disruptions in southern Europe and North Africa. Lower winter production in British and Dutch greenhouses due to high energy costs has also had an impact.

In the southern Spanish region of Almeria, one of Britain’s largest foreign suppliers of fruit and vegetables, tomato production dropped 22% in the first few weeks of the year due to bad weather, local farmers said.

“Vegetable production has returned to a normal pace. The effect on the better supply will be seen in the coming weeks,” FEPEX told Reuters.

Spain’s exports of fruit and vegetables were 10.4% lower last year than in 2021, based on the latest official data. The exports of such fresh products to Britain fell by 7% during 2022, also due to weather conditions such as warm early winter temperatures and spring frosts, FEPEX said. (Reporting by Corina Pons. Editing by Jane Merriman)