The development of greenhouse cultivation in Morocco is taking place at a much quicker pace than in Spain, and particularly in Almeria. This growth is being followed up by the Andalusian Council of Agriculture with the help of modern satellite image analysis techniques.
The latest report issued by the Council highlights the strong growth of the acreage devoted to this type of crops, which has gone from some 9,000 hectares in 2001 (when Morocco started enjoying good commercial relations with the EU market) to the nearly 24,000 cultivated at the end of last year. This figure is also expected to increase to almost 26,000 hectares this year.
More than Almeria
The data corresponds solely to the region of Souss-Mass-Draá, specifically to the prefectures of Agadir-Ida ou Tanane and Inezgane-Alt Melloul and the provinces of Chtouka-Aït Baha and Taroudant.
The estimates, however, point to a significantly larger area when adding other regions, such as Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen and Tangier-Tetouan, specifically the provinces of Kenitra and Larache, where the acreage devoted to protected crops has grown from 2,975 hectares in 2002 to more than 8,500 in the previous year (+179 percent)
Development in the north
The most notable growth is being achieved in northern Morocco, in areas that are closer to the ports from which greenhouse vegetables are shipped. According to the report, the acreage in these areas is expanding at a quicker pace than in the rest of the country.
For the Moroccan authorities, intensive agriculture is a strategic sector for its economy. The most important destination for its products is Europe, with a growing presence also in Russia, where it has taken advantage of the veto on European products.