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Spain: Almeria's producers taking advantage of drought in Morocco

Water scarcity has undoubtedly become one of the problems raising the greatest concern among agricultural producers in Almeria; however, it is far from being an issue that is affecting only producers in this province. Other territories, such as Morocco, have been suffering it more intensely in recent years.

As is usually the case in globalised markets, the misfortune of some automatically benefits their most direct competitors, and that is what is happening today with Almeria's vegetables.

The beginning of the current campaign has brought these issues into the spotlight, given how Moroccan exports of essential products, such as courgettes, cucumbers, aubergines or tomatoes, have fallen because of their low production.

Trade balance
Possibly the most significant case is that of courgettes; a product for which Morocco has been granted an annual export quota to the EU markets of 56,000 tonnes. However, the shortage in the supply has reduced this volume by more than 50 percent.

The most immediate consequence was an increase in the sale price of Almeria courgettes, which grew by 37 percent in week 45. In the following weeks, until the end of the month, there were drops of 20.8% and 30.4%, respectively.

Lower tomato production
The situation is similar for tomatoes, for which sharp declines in production and exports to the European Union were recorded in weeks 44 and 45, according to data collected by the Prices and Markets Observatory of the Council of Agriculture.

Almeria has also enjoyed the added advantage of having its tomato plantations reach their productive peak later than usual, which means that the bulk of the production has arrived with the cold and has therefore been reduced.

In spite of this, the prices obtained have been significantly higher, mainly as a result of reduced market competition, especially from Morocco, but also from other areas with lower productions.

Over the last two weeks, the price of tomatoes has grown substantially, especially in the case of the on the vine (+48 percent), long life (+41.7 percent), smooth (+30.5 percent) and ribbed (+25.2 percent) varieties.

Other vegetables
Moroccan producers are having many problems to maintain their production levels with almost all the vegetables they grow, and this has allowed Almeria's producers to increase their export prices. This has been the case for aubergines, which have seen prices increase by around 27 percent, or for cucumbers, especially of the Almeria variety, which have recorded a 56 percent rise in weeks 46 and 47, mostly due to a sharp reduction of Moroccan cucumber sales (down by 35.4 compared to last season).

Green bean prices have also been affected by the lower production in Morocco, which has been a leader in this market for several years, and have reached up to 3 Euro per kilo.

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