skip to Main Content

Spanish agri-food exports grow during the pandemic, according to CaixaBank Research

Spanish agri-food exports have increased during the coronavirus pandemic and this sector has become one of the least affected by the crisis, according to CaixaBank Research’s 2020 Agri-Food Sector Report on the occasion of Covid-19. This resistance of the sector is largely due precisely to exports, which have benefited from the internationalization of their companies before the pandemic, and to confinement, which has forced them to consume more basic goods and store them. at home.

The agri-food industry fell by only 9.4% between April and June

The agri-food industry has also performed well compared to the manufacturing industry as a whole, which is most affected by confinement: manufacturing production fell by 26.7% year-on-year from April to June, but food production fell by only 9.4%. The agri-food sector has also lost fewer jobs and fewer workers affected by ERTE, and the recovery in Social Security affiliation has been consolidating over the summer.

Change in purchasing models

Confinement has changed consumption patterns, which has increased greatly in the home, to the detriment of the Horeca Canal, whose situation is exacerbated by the halt in foreign tourism; and e-commerce has increased in food purchases. Regarding the loss of tourists, the study describes as excellent the Spanish tourist position before the crisis, so it provides “a strong recovery capacity in the medium term” when there is a treatment against coronavirus.


Spain is the fourth largest exporting economy in the sector in the EU (after the Netherlands, Germany and France) and in 2018 snatched Canada the seventh world position of food exporters, with a share of the global market of 3.6% (more than 1 .8% of total exports of goods).

Despite the impact of the pandemic on international trade, Spanish agri-food exports rose by 4.9% year-on-year from January to July; the export of the primary sector has been better, with an increase of 6.3% year-on-year until July.

  • Aragon is the community that has grown the most in exports until July (+ 33.8%), thanks to pork
  • Basque Country (+ 13.3%), due to chemically modified fats and oils
  • Catalonia (+ 8.8%), also for pigs
  • Valencian Community (+ 7.6%), for citrus fruits
  • In contrast, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands (-28.4% and -25%).

The EU is the major destination for Spanish exports (especially France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, in that order), followed by the United Kingdom, China.