Hard times for Moroccan citrus

Wed 31/07/2019 by Richard Wilkinson

Morocco’s 2018 citrus harvest was somewhat disappointing, according to official data. Average prices were up from 2017, but still barely covered costs of production, packaging, freight and marketing. The situation is worse for the 60% of producers who do not have direct access to external markets. Most of the present problems are nothing new; there has been a downward trend in Morocco’s citrus profitability in recent years due to the stagnation of exports, the rise of local markets and very low prices. However, the slump in export prices came as something of a surprise.

Over 60% of Moroccan citrus used to go to the EU, with a third heading for the less profitable Russian market. However, more is now remaining in Morocco, where prices are lower. The solutions proposed to remedy this situation are to organise exports so as to avoid Moroccan-Moroccan competition. This will also require better logistics and shipping . Better distribution platforms are required to supply European countries in a timely manner and compete with Spain and Turkey.

This season’s production is estimated at 2.7 million tons, with exports reaching only 670.000 tons. Between 2017 and 2018, citrus exports rose by 10% from 691,000 to 724,000 tons, but were sold at lower prices than could be obtained at the local market.

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