Almeria: Fruit basket of Europe

FRESH: Almeria's fresh produce famous as far afield as China. Photo credit Shutterstock

FOREIGN exports from Almeria have shot up in 2017. Income earned from sales abroad rose by 15 per cent in the first half of the year to more than €2.2 billion.

In six months Almeria has earned more than double what Malaga and Cordoba gained from exports, and more than triple Granada’s profits.

Almeria’s success comes as Andalucia posted record exports from January to June. The region passed the €16 billion mark in exports value for the first time in its history. With a small population, Almeria punched well above its weight in achieving the regional record.

Andalucia is now the second-biggest exporting region in Spain, and the fastest-growing in the country. Foreign sales of fruits and vegetables have soared by 23.2 per cent this year, double the national average.

The news isn’t just a boon for local farmers. Almeria now has one of the best import-export balances in the country and is in far better economic shape than most other provinces.

France is the biggest buyer of Almeria’s produce, followed by Italy, the UK and Germany. But exporters are also looking outside of Europe and are developing closer ties with China. It is now the fastest-growing market for local produce. Chinese scientists have also been dispatched to Almeria to learn about pioneering growing techniques.