Since the entry into force of the Association Agreement between the EU and Morocco in 2013, the country has gone from selling 365,695 tons of tomatoes to 557,225 tons in 2022, according to Eurostat data. Meanwhile, the volumes exported by Spain have fallen below the volume it exported in 2016/2017 and the average of the last five campaigns.
“The agreement with the EU has many cracks. The objective, when the first export protocol was signed in 1992, was the agricultural development of Morocco's rural population and traditional farmers. It's been a fallacy because the rural population hasn't developed and Moroccan farmers haven't improved their situation," stated Andres Gongora from the COAG.
“The thing about Morocco that hurts us the most are their labor costs. We think the other costs don't differ so much from one place to another, especially because Morocco follows the same production model we have here. The competitive difference is in the workforce. The cost of hiring a worker in Spain is enough to hire ten workers in Morocco.”
The producer also said the system weighs down Spanish tomato exports to Europe. "In addition, the agreement, which doesn't favor the rural population nor Moroccan farmers, has strengthened the rural exodus and increased immigration," he stated.
“European capital arrives in Morocco, acquires properties, and uses sub-Saharan labor. It's a disaster but Europe turns a blind eye on this. It has only benefited the large distribution platforms, which can buy their products from many places and have an export tool to -in this case- put downward pressure on Spanish producers,” he concluded.