Morocco : World’s 5th strawberry exporter

With 74,000 tons of strawberries over the 2013-2014 agricultural season, Morocco holds a 7% share of the international market. In front of Morocco is Spain who exported 355,000 tons followed by Mexico (266,000 tons), USA (164,000 tons) and China (128,000 tons) according to figures from the Moroccan Minister of Agriculture.

28% of Moroccan strawberry exports are under the ‘fresh’ category (19,000 tons) and 72% frozen. “The decrease in Moroccan fresh strawberry exports notably to Europe is made up for by an increase in frozen strawberry exports, which are less sensitive to climate conditions in the destination markets” explains the Moroccan Minister of Agriculture.
 
European countries represent 95% of Moroccan strawberry exports. To face up to increasing competition on the European market, Morocco intends to increase their share on the fresh strawberry market. A new export policy with two new strategies was recently established. They aim to make strawberry production fulfil global demand.

They will set up an early strawberry market, making fresh strawberries available out of season, from September to April. Frozen strawberry exports aimed at the Agro-industry will be developed as of May. This is a decisive date as it is when the fresh strawberries from Spain reach maturity.

The sector faces problems such as the lack of a representative structure for producers to defend their best interests, lack of processing and conservation units and access to farms. Also, all strawberry plants are imported from Spain, which is an enormous prejudice for Moroccan strawberries on the international market.

The Moroccan Agricultural Minister has released, from the Agricultural Development Fund, a 500 DH/ton aid ($1=8DH) to export strawberries outside of the EU.

The strawberry sector in Morocco appealed to many European companies who have contributed to it’s development by using innovating irrigation and fertilisation techniques. Such companies are mainly Spanish, French, Dutch, Belgian and Portuguese exporters who are well set-up in Morocco and produce over surfaces of at least 50 ha.

Strawberries have been farmed in Morocco since the 1950’s, but only represent 4% of the country's fruit and vegetable production, despite a clear increase since 1990. Moroccan strawberry production over the 2012-13 season was estimated at 145,000 tons, i.e. a 4.3% increase compared to the previous season. Acreage is stable reaching 3,500 ha.


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