The Moroccan tomato season has started at SpecialTom, "We started this week with the first cherry (vine) tomatoes and baby plum tomatoes, but the volumes are still small. Supply from Morocco will remain low throughout October," says Jean-Paul Nuijten. "Demand is good, both from European destinations and re-exporters, which means this season has gotten off to a better start than last year."
SpecialTom focuses on specialty tomatoes, and in addition to Dutch and Belgian products, they also have direct contact with growers in Morocco, Spain, Italy and Tunisia. The trader has a joint venture with a large Moroccan cooperative, called Marexport. This year the cooperative has expanded 98 acres, which now gives them a total of 469 acres, "A substantial amount has been invested, and where previously everything was grown in the ground, now 50% of the land is filled with tomatoes being grown on coconut matting (also known as coco fiber liners or coconut coir)," says Jean-Paul.
"The total cultivation area in Morocco has remained the same, but there are baby plum- and cherry tomato growers who have switched over to round tomato (also known as slicing or beefsteak tomatoes) cultivation. Last year round tomato prices were very good because good prices were reached for unsorted products on the local market." This season SpecialTom will introduce various new packaging, like the shakers.
In addition to tomatoes, SpecialTom has expanded the Moroccan assortment by adding zucchinis, bell peppers and citrus, "For a major citrus producer with production in the four citrus areas in Morocco we are going to market a great citrus package on the European market. We expect to load up the first early tangerines at the end of next week," says Jean-Paul. "We have expanded our commercial team and we are also getting the necessary supply of tomatoes from Spain as well. We're ready to go!"
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