Europe exports 15% fewer tomatoes, Moroccan shipments up 2%

Morocco's tomato exports totalled 537,120 tonnes in the 2015/2016 season (until 31 August), as reported in the European Commission's Working Group of Experts on Tomato Forecasts, which met last Friday in Brussels. Moroccan exports to the EU amounted to 406,963 tonnes, with 130,156 tonnes going to other markets. Russia remains the main destination, with 112,000 tonnes.

For the 2016-2017 campaign, the Moroccan representatives who participated in the Group of Experts of the European Commission, said they expected growth to be limited to 2%, due to higher growth than expected in pepper and berries. They also predicted the campaign would start with a delay of between 15 and 20 days, which could be confirmed with the arrival of Moroccan tomatoes to the market of Saint-Charles, which last season accounted for 64% of the country's shipments to the EU. Until Friday 21 October, these were 59% lower than last season, with a total of 3,483 tonnes; 2,400 tonnes of round tomatoes (-68%) and 1,083 tonnes of cherry tomatoes (+15 %).

For Italy, France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, the total acreage devoted to the production of tomatoes is expected to remain stable, and in the case of the latter two countries, there will be a progressive extension of their campaigns, with growing volumes in the first months of the year. Representatives of member countries of the EU agreed on their negative balance of the previous season, with the Russian veto being a determining factor, and with no prospects of finding alternative markets to cover an equivalent demand, as evidenced by the fall in exports to third countries, down by 15% compared to the previous year.

FEPEX reiterated that the Commission should enforce the provisions of the Association Agreement between the EU and Morocco, in order to prevent this country from causing serious disturbances in the EU market, given its growing market share in the winter months. To this end, the agreement has clauses, not only on the entry price, but also on cooperation and safeguard measures.

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