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Amid adverse weather and tough competition

Tough year for Moroccan frozen produce exports in 2023

According to EastFruit, Morocco’s exports of frozen fruits and vegetables plummeted in 2023 due to severe weather events and tough competition in export markets. The country exported less than 70 thousand tons of frozen fruits, berries, and vegetables from January to October of last year. Based on the previous data of the last two months, it is almost certain that the exports of this product will hit the lowest level in at least six years by the end of 2023.

The main drop in Moroccan exports happened between February and May 2023, which determined the final outcome of the year. The late winter and early spring months are the peak season for shipping frozen strawberries from Morocco, which is the main category of frozen fruits and vegetables sold from the country. However, the weather conditions for growing strawberries in Morocco were far from ideal in the first half of 2023. The strawberry plantations were damaged by storms and cold snaps at first, and then by a drought in April, which resulted in a decline in exports of these frozen berries to only 45 thousand tons for January-October 2023.

Raspberry producers (the second most important category of frozen fruit and vegetable exports from Morocco) faced less severe impacts of weather disasters, but they also had to cut down their exports of frozen products. The reason was the oversupply of frozen raspberries in the EU market. Morocco exported 10 thousand tons of frozen raspberries from January to October 2023, while other countries such as Ukraine, Poland and Serbia exported much more: 42, 90 and 73 thousand tons respectively.

The situation with other categories of frozen fruits and vegetables exports from Morocco was mixed. For instance, the exports of frozen apricots and other fruits were also among the lowest in recent years, according to preliminary estimates. On the other hand, the exports of frozen vegetables more than doubled from 2022, but they still had a very small share in the total volume (about 6% for January-October 2023).

The geography of frozen fruit and vegetable exports from Morocco did not change much either last year. EU countries continued to import about 80% of all Moroccan supplies in 2023, while the rest mainly went to North America, China and other East Asian countries.

However, Moroccan exports to the EU fell by 40% for January-October 2023, compared to the same period of the previous year, and exports to North American countries (USA and Canada) dropped by 28%. In contrast, exports to China, other East Asian countries, Australia, South America and some other destinations increased for the reporting period, but they still did not have a significant share in the total volume of exports from Morocco.

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