.It is a pleasure to be able to address the readers of the Magazine Mercados, through this special issue, due to the celebration of Fruit Logistica, one of the most important exhibition fairs at European level, in the fruit and vegetable sector.
An international forum that has become a must for the entire sector, where Spanish professionals will be present promoting and making known our fruits and vegetables, leaders in the European market.
I would like to highlight the importance of the Spanish horticultural sector, which, thanks to its quality, variety and competitiveness, has consolidated Spain as the main producer country in the European Union, with 25% of the total, and which is in sixth position at the world ranking. Its economic value exceeds 14.000 million euros (2017), with a production of more than 28 million tons, which places it in first place in the agricultural sector of Spain.
Betting on dynamism and innovation, we work in collaboration with the sector to ensure the differentiated quality of the products and value the work carried out by producers to maintain competitiveness and strategy. Spain has 61 figures of differentiated quality, amongst fruits and fresh or processed vegetables, of which 19 are fruits, 10 vegetables, 3 rice, 3 nuts and 2 olives. Spain is also the first country in the European Union and the fourth in the world in surface dedicated to organic farming.
The international promotion and commercialization characterize this sector that exports more than 50% of the production. In 2017, exports, amounting to 14.327 million euros, were mainly made to the European market. The trade balance, in both fruits and vegetables, is positive.
Due to its strength and the variety of products it has, the future trend of the sector is to continue growing in the coming years. An important factor will also be, the access to new markets where Spanish fruit and vegetable products are already positioning, thanks to the high quality.
It is necessary to emphasize the social dimension of the sector, since it generates 22% of employment in the agricultural sector. The potential and dynamization capacity of the Spanish fruit and vegetable sector is allowing the adaptation to the changes in the markets of our environment, thanks also to the advances in the ordering thereof, the promotion of consumption, and the quality and safety of the food.
From the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, we continue to promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables, and we carry out awareness campaigns against food waste, or quality. Precisely, this is the objective of the Food Strategy of Spain, started to publicize our products inside and outside our borders.