Rocha pears

Panama has become the latest market to open up for Portuguese apples and pears. As of 20 November, producers can export to the Central American country, with a potential 4m consumers.

This past year, Portugal's Ministry of Agriculture has secured access to India and Côte d’Ivoire for apples and pears, Mexico for pears, and El Salvador for apples.

The Secretary of State for Agriculture and Food, Luís Medeiros Vieira, said: “This step is the result of the very strong investment this government has made in opening markets, which is reflected in the increase in agrifood exports which have grown 5.4 per cent in the first nine months of 2018 compared with the year-earlier period”.

The ministry is currently working towards the opening of 56 markets for the export of 252 products, including 201 animal products and 51 plant-based products.

Portugal is styling itself as ‘the California of Europe’ as it looks to attract new investment and help horticultural exports smash through the €2bn barrier.

Exports of fruit and vegetables from Portugal have doubled from just €780m in 2010 to almost €1.5bn last year, and promotional body Portugal Fresh is optimistic of hitting the €2bn milestone within the next four years.