Producers are scalded by a poor export season in the past season which has resulted in an estimated loss of 2 billion dirhams. And as if that were not enough, here is the production during the current season experiencing an unprecedented decline, which has repercussions on exports downstream as well as the entire industry. The support of the public authorities however consigned by a convention coming soon.
The fears of citrus growers and exporters are confirmed.
After a season 2018-2019 characterized by a production markedly higher for citrus fruits as a whole, but export losses estimated by professionals to MAD 2 billion, the current campaign, which is in its first phase, is characterized as expected, by an unprecedented 50% fall in production on average or even 75% in regions such as Souss Massa. This decline is caused by a succession of events including the hot weather of August.
This decline is reflected in a significant decline in berry exports, as seen at the beginning of the season for different varieties of mandarins and clementines.
Thus, for the region of Souss, the first region in terms of area reserved for citrus fruits with 30% of the total, the volume of exports of clementines will not exceed 42,000 tons during this campaign against 187,000 T in the previous campaign, a difference of 145,000 tons.
This is the conclusion established by the Technical Committee of the Association of Citrus Producers (Regional ASPAM) at a meeting held to take stock of the situation of exports to 23 November 2019. At that date, it still 8000 tonnes to export out of the planned 42,000 found this committee. These quantities were exported 50% to the Russian market, 30% to the North American countries and only 12% to the European Union markets.
By variety, Nour clementine undergoes a very significant decline according to ASPAM Souss, which estimates that total exports will not exceed 10,000 tons for this year against 90,000 tons the previous year. However, for the Nadorcott variety, which will start harvesting between December 20th and December 25th, the decline will be lighter, the professional association expecting a total export of around 35,000 tonnes.
Thus, to limit the damage, it appears that many producers have abandoned the export during this campaign to turn to the domestic market, “weakened by the losses of the previous campaign, and still waiting for the support of public authorities despite an agreement signed in this sense between the sector and the parent ministry,” said a sector operator.
On the other hand, while it is certain that the main citrus-producing regions will experience serious setbacks during this campaign, the Berkane region will do well with “a relatively good season because it is much less affected by the decline in tonnage,” says a source in the industry.
Recall that the main citrus growing regions outside Souss are the regions of Gharb with 19% of the total area, the Oriental with 15% and the regions of Tadla and Haouz with 13% each. This is to say the importance of the industry that expects a setback both upstream and downstream.