The Moroccan blueberry season advances at two speeds

On the one hand, production in Agadir, in the center of the country, is in line with forecasts, with stable harvests since December 2023. On the other hand, the region of gharb, in the northwest of the country, the start of the campaign is delayed. The season, with much more modest volumes than last season. This is what he says Mehdi BencherkounExecutive Director DMB & Co.

In the Gharb region, which accounts for a large proportion of Moroccan blueberry production, the first harvests did not occur until February, a month late. Yields have also dropped almost 70% compared to the same period last year. The most affected are small producers, some of which have practically no volume.

«It is a strange situation, very different from what we are seeing in the region of Souss Massa, which is enjoying a normal season. The reason for this disparity is none other than the weather conditions that took us by surprise this year.

The exporter anticipates a return to normality at the beginning of March. «Many producers have chosen to plant blueberries and blackberries this season, to the detriment of strawberries. Even if yields are generally low, increasing the area will allow for large harvests. We hope to return to a similar pace as last year by early March, with harvest peaking in late March and early April. It is very likely that this schedule will be met, given the fruit development we are currently seeing. "We will be able to export full trucks every week and save the season."

Will the late start mean an extension of the season?

"It's still not clear," he says. Bencherkoun. «It will depend on commercial and technical parameters. We will see how the competition develops and if Spain y Portugal They will continue on the market, knowing that production from Western Europe, such as Serbia, should enter the market soon. Furthermore, no one can predict how weather conditions will develop in Morocco and elsewhere.”

It was predicted that Peru y Chile They would have low volumes due to the drought, but in the end large volumes were placed. Spain also started the season earlier than “It has become increasingly difficult to predict the timing and duration of the seasons in the context of unpredictable weather.”

The demand outlook over the next month or two is also a matter of guesswork, according to Benchekroun. He explains: “Typically, our main markets for blueberries are the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia and, to a lesser extent, Italy, Belgium, Asia such as Singapore and Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Gulf countries. But there will undoubtedly be major changes in the market.”

«With the massive entry of Egypt in production and the first planting experiments in the Gulf countries, the world map of blueberry origins and destinations will be turned upside down.

Regarding the prices of Moroccan blueberries this season, Benchekroun states that “neither buyers nor producers have a clear idea of ​​seasonal prices. Spot sales, which represent the majority of our exports in DMB & Co, are quoted weekly.

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