The total area allocated to the cultivation of red fruits in Morocco has increased from 3,035 ha in 2009 to around 9,000 ha in the past two years. The increase in cultivated areas has resulted in a jump in production. In fact, the sector’s average production is 197,000 tonnes this year. About 140,000 tonnes are for export.
According to data from the Union of Moroccan Fruit and Vegetable Professionals, the cultivation of strawberries – which represents 40% of the area used for red fruits – constitutes the largest part of the area reserved for red fruits. Raspberries, which are increasingly popular with producers, are the second most important crop. Cranberries have a very high added value in Morocco since they are exported to around 40 countries.
Moroccan red fruit producers have focused on improving their crops, which has enabled them to enter markets on five continents. The European Union has accounted for 90% of Moroccan exports of red fruits in the past two years. The remaining share of red fruit exports went to Asian markets (5%), Gulf markets (1.5%) and about 3.5% went to the Free Trade Agreement countries of North America, Africa, South America and Central and Eastern Europe.
Despite intense competition and climatic challenges that threaten the sustainability of the sector, Morocco has intensified its efforts to stimulate exports of red fruits and penetrate new markets. The indicators suggest that the annual production of red fruits in Morocco should reach around 197,000 tonnes this season, an increase of 84% compared to 10 years ago.
Faced with the 25% drop in prices on European markets this season, especially for red cranberries, Moroccan farmers have turned to the domestic market. Some farmers have stopped exporting to focus on domestic markets to support production growth.
Professionals in the sector attributed this drop in price to a sharp increase in the production of the same fruit in Spain, a major competitor of Moroccan products in the European Union. Nevertheless, Moroccan red fruit professionals have gained market share in new markets, particularly in Great Britain and North America.
The red fruit sector in Morocco is a driving sector of the economy due to the broad export prospects. In addition to Europe, Moroccan red fruits are available in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.
Moroccan Minister of Agriculture and Marine Fisheries Aziz Akhannouch said that Moroccan products have gained larger market shares in foreign markets and entered new markets. The ministry’s data indicates that the red fruit sector provides more than 10 million working days, half of which are in the Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region.
With annual sales of more than $ 312 million, nearly 90% of which comes from exports, the sector plays an important social and economic role in increasing state revenues and creating jobs. The ministry said the good production results and strong demand for strawberries in European markets have contributed to a significant increase in the area devoted to this fruit.