Morocco forced to restrict tomato exports
Morocco is being forced to restrict its tomato exports due to high internal prices. Cherry tomatoes are not affected by the restrictions.
The head of Morocco’s main fruit and vegetable exporters’ group said the kingdom has restricted tomato exports since late February, with a total ban imposed during the week to bring down internal prices. In a statement to Reuters on Friday, Lahoucine Aderdour, head of the Federation of Moroccan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters (FIFEL), said the Ministry of Agriculture had agreed on a daily export quota last month before halting all exports from 18 to 22 March, with a lower quota of 700 tonnes per day from Thursday.
He added that on Friday exporters received a quota of 1,000 tonnes, less than the usual 1,500 tonnes. The official was also keen to point out that more expensive products, such as cherry tomatoes, which represent more than half of Morocco’s tomato exports, are not affected by the restrictions.
This year, the vegetable harvest has been severely disrupted by bad weather in Morocco and Spain. This has resulted in shortages in Europe and higher prices, which helped push up inflation in the UK to 10.4% in February.
Traders are already expressing fears about the impact of export cuts on their share of key EU and UK markets. “We are not honoring our long-term supply contracts,” one trader told the news agency, noting that the bulk of contracts with British customers is signed a year in advance at fixed prices. “Morocco’s credibility as a stable supplier of tomatoes to the EU and UK markets is at stake,” he added.