Tomato yields have been decreasing in Morocco in recent days as the weather has cooled in the Souss Massa region, according to Mustapha Aouragh, a local tomato grower.
Aouragh told FreshPlaza, "Last week marked the end of a long summer, but temperatures are a bit too low at the moment. The day starts with a temperature of 10 degrees in the Agadir region. Tomato yields have consequently dropped to 500 kg per hectare per day on average, with a harvest every two days, compared with 1000-1200 kg two weeks ago."
In addition to temperature, losses due to ToBRFV remain the major unpredictable factor affecting volumes. According to Aouragh, "Pull-outs of contaminated plants remain the only solution, and the lost volumes vary from week to week and from grower to grower. It's difficult to come up with an average for the whole region for the season that's just begun, but we've recorded fewer losses due to the drop in temperature and also due to the improvement in growers' experience in preventing contamination."
The drop in yields comes in a context of strong demand that is showing no signs of slowing down, adds Aouragh: "There is a clear increase in demand from buyers in the Netherlands, which is not easy to satisfy in full, given that exporters are bound to honor their contracts with, in particular, buyers from France and the UK, who buy more under contract."
The drop in yield comes as prices had begun to stabilize in the local market, concludes Aouragh, "prices have dropped to 5-6 MAD per kilo in the local market this week, but it looks like the cold weather will curb this trend. In any case, the tomato industry became so complicated and unpredictable that I switched this season to bell peppers, which are less exposed to ToBRFV and soft fruits."
For more information: