European farm exports increased by 21% to €16bn (£14.27bn) last year as global agri-trade hit a record high, a European Commission report has revealed.
It says the EU recorded a €6bn (£5.35bn) agricultural trade surplus last year, as exports bounced back from a slump in 2009 to reach a record €91bn (£81.16bn). This made the EU a net exporter in farm goods for the first time since 2006 and narrowed the gap between it and the world’s leading food exporter, the US.
Wine, at €4.6bn (£4.10bn), remained the EU’s highest value export in 2008-10, followed by wheat at €3.4bn (£3.03bn). There were strong increases in barley sales (up 300% to 3.8mt, mainly to Saudi Arabia and Tunisia) and frozen pigmeat sales (up 30% from 0.8 to 1mt, to Japan and Russia).
However, the EU remained the world’s biggest importer, averaging €83bn (£74.02) during 2008-2010. Some 70% came from developing countries, worth €59bn in 2008-10, the report said.
Other countries also recorded big increases in agri-trade. The US reached a record agricultural trade surplus of €27bn (£24.08bn) in 2010, with the value of exports at an all-time high of €92bn (£82.06bn). US imports also set a record figure of €65bn (£57.97bn). Brazil recorded a 23% rise in its export value, while China and Russia saw imports rise by 47% & 26% respectively.