Resilience in the midst of adversity: the rise of Moroccan berry exports in 2023

In 2023, Morocco demonstrated a solid increase in income from its fresh berry exports, overcoming adverse weather conditions and a drop in supply volumes. EastFruit data reveals that Moroccan berry producers exported almost 124.000 tonnes, generating $750 million in revenue. “Berries have reaffirmed their role as a cornerstone of Morocco's agricultural exports. Only greenhouse tomatoes produced more foreign exchange earnings than frozen berries.

And also 83 million Additional came from frozen strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Despite these advances, the year posed important challenges for the sector,” he points out. Yevhen Kuzin, fruit and vegetable market analyst at EastFruit .

Revenue from Morocco's fresh berry exports has increased 2,4-fold since 2018, but the actual export volume in 2023 saw a 6% decline from the previous year, totaling 124.000 tonnes.

However, this figure is still a third higher than the five-year average. It is worth highlighting in 2023 the 40% increase in fresh blackberry exports, reaching 1,4 thousand tons.

In contrast, exports of other important berries stabilized or decreased, with blueberries at 52,5 thousand tons and raspberries and strawberries at 52 thousand tons and 17,7 thousand tons, respectively.

“The growth in income from berry exports is encouraging, but the reduction in tonnage indicates possible concerns about the future of the industry in Morocco.

“The sector’s dependence on a favorable climate and its strong export focus on the EU and UK markets (regions that faced economic challenges in 2022-2023) highlight its vulnerabilities,” he explains. Yevhen Kuzin.

Approximately 90% of Morocco's berry exports in 2023 were destined for just five countries: Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and France.

These nations accounted for 88% of Morocco's foreign exchange earnings from the berries. However, each reduced their import volumes: imports from Germany fell by a third and those from France by 20%, reflecting both a decline in supply from Morocco and weakened demand due to the economic difficulties of the EU.

Yevhen Kuzin reminds us: “The IMF reports that the EU economy grew just half a percent in the crisis years of 2022-2023, with Germany experiencing a contraction of 0,3%.

This economic stagnation has inevitably impacted consumer demand. Consequently, diversifying export markets is a strategic priority for Morocco's berry industry, building on its current successes.”

In 2023, Morocco also saw growth in berry exports to emerging markets.

Exports to the United Arab Emirates increased 29% to 2.000 tonnes, direct shipments to Poland quintupled to 1.200 tonnes, deliveries to Canada increased almost 6,5-fold to 65 tonnes, and Saudi Arabia more than doubled its import volumes to 810 tons. Despite these advances, volumes remain modest compared to the top five importers.

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