According to EastFruit, Morocco exported a record volume of cucumbers to Portugal this season. One of the factors that contributed to the increase in shipments to the Portuguese markets was the severe drought that affected Europe.
EastFruit previously reported that cucumber exports from Morocco have been growing since 2017, and local exporters have managed to set new records for the past three seasons. As the overall export of Moroccan cucumbers continues to rise, imports of the vegetable into Portugal are also increasing.
The graph shows that while there was a decline in cucumber shipments to Portuguese markets in the 2018/19 season, import volumes have been increasing annually since then. Over the course of four years, the amount of cucumbers exported to Portugal has grown by a staggering 17 times. In the 2022/23 season (analyzing the period from July to June), it exceeded 2,000 tons. Typically, cucumbers were supplied to Portuguese markets from November to March, with peak deliveries occurring in January and February. The 2022/23 season marked the first time that cucumbers from Morocco were imported into Portugal almost year-round, bringing in profits of $2.3 million for the North African country.
It is worth noting that Portuguese consumers did not have a pressing need to increase cucumber imports until recently. Locally grown produce was sufficient to meet demand. While imported cucumbers were being brought into the country, import volumes remained relatively stable for several years.
The situation changed last year when Southern Europe, including Portugal, experienced a severe drought. Water prices rose in the country, and irrigation restrictions were introduced, causing difficulties for many crop producers. The water shortage had a negative impact on cucumber production. As a result, Portugal was forced to increase vegetable imports from abroad, with Spain and Morocco being the two main importers.
In the 2022/23 season, a total of 7,700 tons of cucumbers were imported into Portuguese markets (compared to 4,000 tons two years earlier). Cucumbers were imported into Portugal from six countries this season. Spain accounted for two-thirds of all shipments, while Morocco accounted for one-fourth.
For more information: east-fruit.com