The recession in Europe has disrupted consumer behavior and cast its shadow on the soft fruit industry in Morocco. With 95% of Moroccan raspberries being exported to Europe, the raspberry season has faced a flat demand.
Mr. Bennani Amine, president of the Moroccan association of soft fruit producers, said: "The raspberry season started in October at a feverish pace. While the acreage has grown this year and has increased from the previous year to 4,500 hectares, the season looks bad."
Due to the lack of demand, this season's first cycle produce is met with a price at packing stations below the cost of production.
Mr. Bennani added: "We are not reassured about prices. There will be a decline in volumes in the second cycle of the season. We have no choice but to assume the losses." Some producers have had to abandon their crops or even destroy part of their produce to "limit the damage". The decrease in volumes is at least 15% according to Mr. Bennani.
The situation requires Moroccan producers "to take the blow, learn from it and make the right decisions in the next season", says Mr. Bennani. To limit the dependence of the industry on Europe, the Moroccan association of soft fruit producers has approached potential customers China, with the support of the national office of food safety (ONSSA). "The industry is knocking on every door," said Mr. Bennani.
Producers are looking forward to the end of the crisis in Eastern Europe and the stabilization of global inflation, Mr. Bennani concluded: "The industry is still promising and has the capacity and potential to restart after the turmoil of the current situation. We offer a panel of the same varieties as Europe, with deliveries in a very short time. Our export standards are stable and our laws protect the intellectual property of patented varieties."
Soft fruit growers still have hope in other products, such as strawberries and blueberries, whose season is starting slowly.
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Mr. Bennani Amine
Moroccan Association of Soft Fruit Producers