Spanish fruit and vegetable exports recovered in the second half of 2016 to finish the year at similar levels to 2015 according to the latest official data.
Figures from Fepex show that following a sharp fall at the beginning of the year shipments recovered after August and were on course to end the year on around 12.7m tonnes.
In value terms, exports to October were up 4.5 per cent to €9.906bn and were expected to top €12.3bn for the full year.
The exporter federation said the sector faces three main challenges in 2017: market diversification, increased innovation and the introduction of better crisis management measures.
Highlighting the successful opening of the Chinese market to stonefruit last year, Fepex said more work needed to be done to negotiate the removal of phytosanitary barriers in markets with good potential for Spanish fruits and vegetables.
The association also said more funding to be made available for investment in farms in order to speed up the innovation process.
Furthermore, it called for the urgent reform of EU regulation 543/2011 with a new withdrawal price for fruits and vegetables to support the sector in the face of the ongoing Russian veto.