Moroccan record citrus production aim to reconquer EU

It is the second year running in Morocco that citrus farmers are complaining that the Minster of Agriculture has not made harvest forecasts public, despite the export season beginning almost a month ago. Professionals were given one figure : 2 million tons of production are expected, but it is not detailed as to which regions or production groups. Professionals are dubious about the Minister’s figures as the fruit forming period (June-July) saw lots of the flowering fall, particularly in the Souss region (which produces half of the country’s citrus production and represents 70% of export).

However, a 6.7% increase in production is expected compared to last season and export is expected to reach between 500,000 to 520,000 tons for all varieties. Ahmed Darrab, Secretary General of Aspam (Association of citrus producers in Morocco) says that there will also be a majority of small fruits which represent 3/4 of global export, he says this is dangerous for the sector as a high concentration of early varieties means that the export season is cut in half (3 moths compared to 6 months 5 years ago). This has led to a decrease in Moroccan products on the foreign markets, and job losses in the sector (85,000 jobs lost in the countryside this year, despite an agricultural record season).

The volume of clementines destined for the Russian market has purposefully been decreased and the aim this season is to reconquer the EU market. Spanish small fruit exports have decreased by 10%, and this year Spanish citrus production is expected to decrease.

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