Photo: Eurofresh Distribution
Moroccan citrus production in 2020/21 is projected to surge by 32% to 2.3 million tons from the previous marketing year, according to FAS Rabat data. The increase in production is based on increased area planted/new plantings coming into full production, as well as new irrigation which offset the long drought in 2020. Tangerine/mandarin production is estimated to increase by 30% over the previous year to 1.2 million tons, orange production should increase by 27% to 1.1 million tons, and lemon/lime production is estimated to reach 44,000 tons.
Orange exports were down by 30% in 2019/20, due to drought in key growing areas. Shipments to the EU fell 23% compared to the previous campaign.
The world’s total orange production for the 2019/20 season is projected to drop 11% to 47.5 million tons due to unfavourable growing conditions in Brazil, Egypt, the European Union, and Morocco, according to USDA data. As a result, consumption, fruit for processing, and fresh exports are also expected to plummet.
Brazil’s production is forecast to fall 22% to 15.1 million tons due to weather-related problems (warm temperatures and below-average rainfall after the first two blooms and fruit set). Oranges for processing are down 3.9 million tons to 10.4 million, while fresh orange consumption is lowered to 4.7 million tons, the lowest in 4 years.
In contrast, China’s orange crop is estimated to climb slightly to 7.3 million due to favourable climatic conditions. Imports are up 3% as consumer demand is rising for premium, high-quality oranges. Egypt and South Africa are the top suppliers to China, accounting for over 70% of imports.
US production is forecast to rise for the second consecutive year, albeit only by 1% to 4.9 million tons. Consumption, exports, and fruit for processing are all expected to be up in line with the larger crop.
Credit: Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution
Spanish imports of fresh fruits and vegetables totalled 2.34 million tons from January to September 2019, according to the latest Fepex data. The share of imports from the EU has fallen to 50.3% from 58%. The largest suppliers were France (565,154 tons, €243 million) and Morocco (337,514 tons, €513 million). Although imports from France have fallen 13% in volume since 2015, they have grown 21% in value. Imports from Morocco have grown significantly over the same period, from 186,925 tons in January-September 2015 to 337,514 tons in January-September 2019. In terms of their value, shipments from Morocco almost doubled from €258.5 million in 2015 to €513 million in 2019 over the 9-month period. This increase in the supply of Moroccan produce is creating tough conditions on the domestic market for Spanish production.
A week after progress was made to establishing a Morocco-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA), a protocol has been signed between the two countries allowing the North African country to ship its fresh raspberries to the North American giant. The US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced in a statement that it will amend regulations governing the fruits and vegetables imports to allow shipments of fresh raspberries from Morocco to the United States. APHIS reassured the public that the fruit will undergo measures upon arrival to prevent the Monilinia fructigena pest as a condition of entry. The product will also be inspected prior to exportation from Morocco.
The statement emphasised: “The raspberries will have to be imported in commercial consignments only and must be field inspected for signs of Monilinia fructigena infection no more than 30 days prior to harvest.”
The first Morocco Berry Conference (MBC) will be held in Agadir on 5th December 2019. This will be the first time that Agriconferences focuses on the berry sector. Berry professionals from inside and outside Morocco will come together to network and discuss technical and commercial issues. The Morocco Berry Conference is the key event of the industry in the MENA region with more than 450 expected participants. The conference will focus on production techniques and market trends. The aims are to connect growers and partners, provide growers with efficient production techniques and data on the challenges of the market.
The event, organised by Greensmile, will be a chance to immerse yourself in the Moroccan and MENA berry sector.
For further details, contact: Siham ZAHIDI
+212666 66 86 05 firstname.lastname@example.org www.greensmile.ma
Greensmile is the organiser of Agriconferences whose meetings attract over 400 participants and key players in the tomato, potato and berry sector.
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.
Morocco’s 2019 melon crop is expected to be large and with good quality, despite a slight dip in surface area in Dakhla and late plantations, according to Medfel data. The harvest in this region is from late February to late April. Meanwhile, in Marrakech, the surfaces are stable but the proportion of crops grown in greenhouses is increasing at the expense of full field. Unlike last year, no delays are expected, with the first greenhouse crops around March 20th.
Planting in greenhouses took place in December, and exceptionally sunny and hot conditions continued up to March 25, when hail damage struck at the start of harvest. In the open field, planting took place in the first half of January, during a rather cold week. Very favourable growing conditions persisted until March 25, when heavy rains struck. Medium loads and large calibre have been obtained. The early harvest of Charentais yellow began on April 10, and the harvesting of Charentais green got underway on April 15-20.
The municipal council of Castro del Rio has asked the Spanish government to restrict olive tree imports from Morocco due to the “serious” phytosanitary threat they represent. For several years now, Morocco’s olive trees have been affected by the Xylella bacterium and Spanish producers are not satisfied with the Moroccan authorities’ response.
This phytopathogenic bacterium is already wreaking havoc across Italy, Corsica and Spain and affects more than 350 plant species, including olive, plum and almond. No effective treatment is currently available other than the destruction of infected plantations.
In early 2017, the National Food Safety Authority (ONSSA) stated that the xylella fastidiosa represents “a potential danger for Morocco” even if the kingdom is “free of the bacteria.” According to the report, the host plants of the bacterium cover over 114 000 ha of citrus, 947 000 ha of olive and 160 000 ha of almond tree.
This is set to be a good year for Morocco’s citrus growers, with exports at their highest levels for two decades (around 680,000 tons). This follows a 2016-2017 campaign in which exports hit 650,000 tons (out of an overall production of about 2.4 million tons). On the domestic front, producers are buoyed by the prospect of Ramadan coinciding this year with the start of the summer season.
Morocco’s Association of Citrus Producers (ASPAM) attributes the good performance firstly to renewal efforts and orchard expansion. The European Union should absorb 40% of the export, with the same share returning to the Russian market. The North American market recorded a 20% increase last season. The entry into full production of new plantations should result in a sharp increase in production over the next two years, to reach nearly 3 million tons. However, the export quota, which currently stands at 25% of total volumes produced, needs to be increased.
Morocco’s citrus production continues to increase. Expert forecasts for the country’s 2017-18 crop indicate a 3% rise in volumes, to 2.3 million tons. According to the secretary-general of the Moroccan citrus producers association (ASPAM), Ahmed Derrab, the growth in output relates to the opening of new production areas.
Although the sector’s trend over recent years has been positive, it falls well below the established target of 2.9 million tons by 2018. Likewise, despite a trend of growth, exports will be half the 2018 target of 1.3 million tons, with expectations of volumes between 650,000 and 680,000 tons for the season which ends in June.
There is nearly 125,000 hectares of citrus in Morocco, with exports mainly destined for Russia, the EU and Canada.