Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Decline in Moroccan citrus fruit exports

Written by Christelle Marot, CASABLANCA on Thursday, April 18th 2013 à 10:30 | Read 1956 times

In 2012, climatic vagaries caused a fall in small fruit exports. As regards oranges, the decline is more structural. For a number of years now, Morocco has lagged behind Egypt.

Sluggish orange exports (Photo El-Gebaly Fruit Company)
Sluggish orange exports (Photo El-Gebaly Fruit Company)
MOROCCO. In 2012, Morocco’s production and export of citrus fruits fell 20%: 441,000 tonnes exported from a total production of almost 1.5 million tonnes. The reason for this was a poor agricultural season due to climatic vagaries, notably in the Souss region.

Moroccan exports have consistently increased until this year. We have experienced a difficult season with regard to small fruits such as clementines and mandarins” admits Amine Mamou, Deputy Managing Director of Maroc Fruit Board (MFB). “However, production and exports are expected to recover in 2013. Producers have planted quite heavily in recent years”.

With regard to oranges, on the other hand, Moroccan exports have been slowing down for a number of years, lagging behind Egypt. “Egypt offers more attractive prices. Its production costs are slightly more advantageous and operators receive state subsidies for logistics”, says the director of MFB.

While the growth in citrus fruit production has been constant since 2008 (increasing from 1.28 million tonnes in 2008 to 1.86 million tonnes in 2011), exports have not followed suit (decreasing from 482,000 tonnes in 2008 to 478,000 tonnes in 2011).


Containers favoured

Container transport provides better respect of the cold chain.(photo ph G. Lozano, licence CC)
Container transport provides better respect of the cold chain.(photo ph G. Lozano, licence CC)
For Maroc Fruit Board, the largest export group, the main focus must be on marketing in order to promote a high quality and differentiated Moroccan product.

In 2012, Maroc Fruit Board exported more than 100,000 tonnes of citrus fruits. It hopes to triple this volume by 2015, notably by developing new market opportunities in Canada, the USA, Asia and Africa.

Currently, 60% of Moroccan citrus fruit exports go to Russia.

We are not really thinking about Europe as Spain is already well established. Rather, the idea is to target less competitive markets”, stresses Amine Mamou.

Exports should increasingly be transported in refrigerated containers, rather than in refrigerated vessels (reefers).

According to the professionals, carriage in refrigerated containers makes it possible to maintain a better quality, respect the cold chain more and achieve greater flexibility in terms of logistics. Furthermore, costs are lower, although carriage in refrigerated containers takes a little longer (from 24 to 48 hours).

The Green Morocco Plan aims to raise annual citrus fruit production to 2.9 million tonnes by 2018 and to increase annual citrus fruit exports to 1.3 million tonnes over the same period.

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