The war in Ukraine has hit Greek exports of fruits and vegetables, since Russia was a major export market prewar and Ukraine an important transit point.
But sanctions, and Belarus’ countermeasures when that country was hit by EU for diverting a flight, originating in Athens, in order to detain a political opponent of the regime, have taken their toll.
According to Incofruit Hellas, the association of fruit, vegetable and juice exporters, the war in Ukraine has negatively impacted exports in two ways: it has closed of the Russian market and the related energy crisis has forced people in EU countries to cut back on their consumption of fruits and vegetables – in some countries by as much as 10% – as well as other perishable foodstuffs.
Non-EU Mediterranean countries that have also lost access to Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, notably Egypt, Turkey and Morocco, have tried to compensate for their losses by reorienting their exports, mostly citrus fruits, to the EU. Greek products must again compete, as they did when the Russian market was open, with cheaper alternatives from those countries.
According to Incofruit data, exports from October 1, 2021 to March 18, 2022, were, compared to the same period a year ago, 39.1% lower for lemons, 27.6% for apples, 16.5% for oranges and 10.5% for tangerines. An exception is kiwi fruits, whose exports increased 10.7%.
Exports of strawberries and tomatoes, whose export season began on January 1, are also lower, by 22.3% and 19.4%, respectively.