A particularly impressive increase was recorded in the exports of Crete during the first 6 months of 2023, according to the provisional data of EL.STAT. edited by the Exporters Association of Crete.
Cretan exports, not including petroleum products, reached the amount of 579.5 million euros and 271,928 tons, compared to 338.0 million euros and 240,283 tons in the corresponding period last year, showing an increase equal to 71.5% in value and 13.2% in quantity.
Let’s remember that in 2022, during which every previous record of the last 10 years was broken at least, our exports closed at 682.10 million euros and 418,820 tons, so it is easy to understand that this year is expected to be much better, at least in value.
The Food and Beverage sector, which constitutes 74.2% of all Cretan exports with 430 million euros, shows a huge increase equal to 133.6%. The Chemicals & Plastics sector comes second, with a share of approximately 16.2% of all Crete’s exports and a decrease of around 4.3%. They are followed by the sectors of Agricultural Equipment (3.1% share and 9.1% decrease), Textiles & Clothing (2.3% share and 10.2% decrease) and with smaller shares Machines & Devices, Building Materials and other industrial products.
In the agri-food sector, Olive oil reached 338.5 million euros, occupying 58.4% of all Cretan exported products and 78.8% in the Food & Beverage category, with an increase of 208% in value and 142% in quantity, in relation to last year’s corresponding period. Horticulture reached 59.8 million euros with an increase of 25.4%, Fish & Seafood reached 6.7 million euros and an increase of 86.1%, Fruits reached 5.3 million euros and an increase of 47.2% and with smaller percentages follow the Dairy, the category of Waters – Soft Drinks – Juices, Wine, Honey and Meat & its Preparations.
Of the products outside the agri-food sector, the largest percentage is occupied by the Chemicals & Plastics sector (16.2% share in all Cretan exports), with the main products being plastic films and plastic sheets, plastic packaging items, pigments materials etc. The export of Agricultural Equipment is also particularly important, with the main product being nets for agricultural use.
Regarding markets, the main buyers of Cretan products are Italy (43.3% share), Germany (9.7%), Spain (6.8%) and the USA. (5.1%) and France (4.1%). The top ten buyers are the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom.
For the Food & Beverage sector, the main buyers are Italy (59.1% share), Germany (9.4%), Spain (7.3%), the USA (5.4%) and Poland (2.5%).
In the markets of Cretan olive oil, Italy comes first with 238.7 million euros, Spain comes second with 27.8 million euros, followed by Germany, the USA. and France.
For the Chemicals & Plastics sector, the main buyers are France with 12.2 million euros, Germany with 9.7 million euros, Spain with 6.1 million euros, the Netherlands with 6 million euros and Italy with 5 million euros.
The period January – June 2023 was an exceptional period for Crete’s exports, decisive for the course of the island’s export performance and, as already mentioned, it seems that 2023 will prove to be the new record year for Cretan exports. Of course, this performance is largely due to the huge increase in the export of olive oil to Italy. In total, more than 56,500 tons of the total 68,000 tons of olive oil exported ended up in Italy and Spain. Therefore, the need to organize actions to enhance the promotion of standardized olive oil, both nationally and internationally, as well as taking measures to protect it, in order to gain the recognition it deserves in the world markets, is deemed imperative.
At the same time, special importance should be given to the rest of the products of the agri-food sector, both from the side of the producers and standardisers, but also from the side of organizing promotion and promotion activities. Finally, the industrial sector has proven to be a constant for Cretan exports, but it should be further strengthened for the smooth development of our exports and to avoid the huge ups and downs observed and related to the production of olive oil.