Morocco: A successful example of diversification of fresh strawberry exports
Morocco’s fresh strawberry exports set a new record in 2022, and the country continued to diversify supplies, according to EastFruit.
Fresh strawberries in Morocco, despite having a lower export volume than frozen strawberries or fresh raspberries and blueberries, remain a key commodity in the country’s fruit and vegetable exports. Fresh strawberries are among Morocco’s top ten most exported vegetables and fruits, bringing the country between $40 and $70 million in revenue almost every year.
22 400 tonnes of fresh strawberries were exported from the country in 2022, which is, 17% more than in 2021 and almost 1 000 tonnes more than the previous record in 2019.
Morocco has increased its fresh strawberry exports by an average of 3% per year since 2017, which cannot be attributed to significant growth rates. In comparison, over the same time period, the country increased blueberry exports by 28% per year. The development trends of Moroccan fresh strawberry exports are divided into two categories. EastFruit advises project countries’ exporters to be cautious.
First, back in 2017, over three-quarters of Moroccan fresh strawberries were exported only to Spain, and five years later, its share had dropped to just over 20%. Secondly, the share of buyers from the Middle East in the structure of Moroccan exports during this period increased from less than 0.5 to 8%.
Spain is one of the key investors in Moroccan agribusiness, and strawberry cultivation projects in Morocco were originally focused on deliveries to this country. This allowed Spanish exporters to extend their export season because the peak of supplies of fresh strawberries in Spain is in March-April, and in Morocco – in January-February. At the same time, Moroccan exporters, trading through Spain, lost a large part of the revenue they would have received from direct exports. By the way, Ukraine did not receive a significant part of its export earnings from the supply of blueberries in 2022 for similar reasons, since more than half of its exports were carried out through Poland.
As a result, volumes previously supplied from Morocco through Spain began to be exported directly, and the United Kingdom became the leader in the import of fresh Moroccan strawberries. In 2022, the United Kingdom imported almost half of the Moroccan strawberry exports. It should be noted that Brexit which once greatly complicated the deliveries to the British market from the EU countries contributed to the emergence of the UK as a leader in strawberry imports.
An additional significant development in Moroccan exports over the past few years has been a sharp rise in supplies to the Middle East. Morocco exported only 56 tonnes of fresh strawberries to this region in 2017, but in 2022, that number increased by 30 times (1 700 tonnes). The main consumers of were the UAE and Qatar (900 and 630 tonnes, respectively), though Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait also received smaller quantities.
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