BELGIUM, Brussels. Flanders' surplus in agricultural foreign trade fell year-on-year in 2020, after several previous years of steady increases.
The Ministry of Agriculture in Brussels has now announced that the northern Belgian region marketed agricultural products and foodstuffs with a total value of € 38.9 bn. abroad last year, 0.8% less than in 2019. At the same time, the value of corresponding imports increased by 1.6% to € 32.6 bn.
As a result, the agricultural foreign trade balance decreased by 12% to € 6.3 bn. Of this, € 2.4 bn. was accounted for by animal products and 1.6 billion euros by "agro-industrial products" such as farm fertilizers, agricultural machinery, agricultural equipment and crop protection products. In addition, of the total surplus, € 1 bn. was allocated to crop products. The remainder was attributable to "other products."
According to the ministry, Flanders' most important agricultural exports by far in terms of value last year were crop products, with proceeds of € 14.6 bn., followed by animal products with € 7.4 bn. and other products with € 7 bn. Crop products also led the region's imports in 2020, with a total value of € 13.6 bn. Horticultural products came second with 6.2 billion euros, while other products accounted for € 5.6 bn.
According to Brussels ministry officials, the Netherlands was the biggest buyer of Flemish agricultural products and foodstuffs in 2020, with an import value of € 7.6 bn.; France followed closely behind with € 7.5 bn. In the previous year, the order was reversed. Germany continued to rank third with € 5.7 bn. Of this, € 570 mill. was spent on vegetables, € 506 mill. on fresh and processed fruit, € 362 mill. on dairy products and € 353 mill. on fresh pork. The Federal Republic also spent € 107 mill. on potatoes and a total of € 57 mill. on beef and veal in Flanders last year. In addition, there was spending of € 28 mill. on eggs and € 13 mill. on poultry meat.