News19 December 2017Brussels, BelgiumAgriculture and Rural Development
EU agricultural outlook: wine, olive oil and fruits & vegetable exports to grow
Representing around 20% of European Union (EU) agricultural output, the outlook for olive oil, wine and fruit and vegetables between 2017 and 2030 is mixed. Those specialised crops are expected to continue their recent trends for stagnating or slightly decreasing consumption and growing exports, according to the EU agricultural outlook report, published on 18 December 2017.
By 2030, EU production of olive oil is expected to rise, especially in Spain and Portugal (by 2.3% per year), due to more irrigation and newly planted groves generating higher yields. In Italy, growth could reach 2% per year, while production in Greece is set to increase by 1.1% per year. This additional production will serve both growing world demand and increasing EU consumption, consolidating the EU's position as the biggest world producer and exporter of olive oil.
However, this expected increase in production could be affected by unforeseen factors such as drought or disease. Bad weather and an outbreak of the xylella fastidiosa disease caused a 25% drop in olive oil production in 2016/17, despite significant investments in irrigated production systems. While a slight recovery is expected, production levels have still not reached the level of 2015/16.
Nearly all (99%) of olives produced within the EU come from farms in Spain, Italy, Greece or Portugal - most of the area cultivated by small farmers in Italy and Greece, in contrast to more medium-sized and large farms in Spain and Portugal.
Growth in wine exports expected
Wine consumption in the EU decreased almost by three litres per capita over the last decade, and consumption is expected to be 25 litres per capita by 2030. However, despite this decline in consumption, the EU is likely to maintain steady growth in wine exports (+1.7% per year), which are expected to reach nearly 27 million hl in 2030, thanks to strong demand for wines with a geographical indication and for sparkling wines. Today, the EU is the world's leading producer of wine at 160 million hl, representing over 60% of world production in 2016. Most of the EU wines come from Italy, France and Spain (80% of the production).
Apples, tomatoes remain roughly stable
The report focuses on just two markets in the fruit and vegetable sector: apples and tomatoes. As far as apples are concerned, EU production reached more than 12 million tonnes in 2016/17, mostly from Poland, Italy, France and Germany. The report predicts that the consumption of fresh apples will stabilise by 2030, in turn leading to more stable EU production at around 12.5 million tonnes per year. The consumption of processed apples, however, is likely to decline slightly, the report adds. Yields are also expected to increase as thanks to the increasing use of modern production methods, the replacement of old orchards by new ones and improved disease resistance and pest management.
As for tomatoes, the report predicts EU production will remain stable while consumption is expected to go down slightly (reaching 14.4 kg per capita in 2030). By contrast, production and consumption of processed tomatoes are expected to grow slightly (+0.4% per year until 2030), driven by higher demand (to above 21 kg in 2030 per capita). Demand is expected to be driven by increasing use of processed tomatoes as ingredients in other foods, and as a result of the increasing popularity of food products that evoke a Mediterranean lifestyle.
In 2016/17, the EU produced more than 18 million tonnes of tomatoes, of which around 40% is consumed fresh and 60% used in the processing industry. Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and France account for almost 75% of the production for fresh consumption, while Spain, Italy and Portugal produce 94% of tomatoes produced for processing.