Lettuce is the third most exported vegetable by Spain. In 2019, exports were worth 721 million Euro, while between January and October of last year their value totaled 530 million Euro.
Of the more than 35,000 hectares devoted to lettuce in Spain, around 16,000 hectares are located in the region of Murcia, which is the leading exporter, with 68% of all sales.
It should be considered that in 1975, Murcia was growing around 55,000 tons of lettuce, while by the end of the 80's, thanks to the water from the Tajo-Segura Transfer and the introduction of the Iceberg variety, this volume increased to 330,000 tons, and in 2017, it exceeded 400,000 tons for the first time.
In fact, lettuce is the most exported product by Murcia, with 510,000 tons out of the total 760,000 tons exported by Spain. 80% of the lettuce shipped is consumed in the European Union, with Germany, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands and Italy, in this order, as the main consumers.
The Region of Murcia is also a leader in the promotion of this vegetable. It launched the campaign "Lettuces and salads from the Region of Murcia" last December to encourage the consumption of leafy vegetables; a promotion that will remain active during 2021, and which was presented by the Councilor of Agriculture of the Region of Murcia, Antonio Luengo, and by Juan Marín Bravo, president of Proexport, an association integrated into FEPEX.
The campaign's website, www.lechugasyensaladas.es, contains sections on varieties, nutritional benefits, recommendations and tricks, and recipes, in addition to information on food safety, agro-innovation and technology, social, environmental and economic sustainability and growing companies, as well as healthy stories and facts and trivia about lettuce.
The director of Proexport, Fernando P. Gómez, says that research has allowed multiple varieties to be grown now, which shows the professionalization of the sector, which has 14 horticultural testing centers in the Region of Murcia.