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The 'PDO Tomates et concombres de France' calls on the government to support producers facing Moroccan competition

In the absence of appropriate regulatory measures, the French tomato industry is threatened by Moroccan competition. Following the publication of the report 'Competitiveness of the French Farm' by the Senate's Economic Affairs Committee, the Association of Producers' Organizations 'Tomates et Concombres de France' (PDO Tomatoes and Cucumbers of France) calls on the government to provide clear support to producers in the face of increasingly aggressive Moroccan competition.

Following the hearing of tomato producers and industry leaders last June, this report highlights the 'excellence' of the French fresh tomato production industry and its reorientation in recent years towards high-end segments to adapt to a particularly competitive global market. This excellence is reflected in the commitment of the main operators of the sector to the High Environmental Value certification, as well as in the labels 'Zero pesticide residues' and 'without pesticides.'

This work is now threatened by strong competition from Moroccan products, whose presence on French shelves is all the more unacceptable as it is developing in the middle of the French production season. How can French farmers compete with imports benefiting from particularly advantageous European customs rates and an hourly employer cost of 0.74 € (compared to 12.8 € in France)?

As the reporters point out, "this situation is, moreover, sometimes ignored by consumers when some brands use misleading labeling, for example by selling Moroccan cherry tomatoes in a package selling these products as the emblem of the rugby team of a city in the southwest."

In this context, Senators Laurent Duplomb, Pierre Louault, and Serge Mérillou also highlight the disgraceful way in which our own government is supporting Morocco's strategy of "accelerated development of competitive, high value-added agriculture," i.e., a model that is export-oriented and uses excessive amounts of water. While Morocco is experiencing increasingly severe droughts, it is recalled that "the development of irrigation has contributed to the overexploitation of most groundwater resources and the alarming decline in the levels of several water tables, as well as the degradation of water quality."

The PDO 'Tomatoes and Cucumbers of France' finally recalls that a large part of the cherry tomatoes labeled 'Morocco' are produced in the region of Dakhla, Western Sahara. This internationally disputed territory is included in the EU-Moroccan free trade agreement for agriculture, while the local population has not been able to express its approval. To date, French consumers are unable to know the exact origin of these products labeled 'Origin Morocco.'

With the publication of this report, the PDO 'Tomatoes and Cucumbers of France' reiterates its demands with force:

  • A reopening of the negotiations of the EU-Morocco free trade treaty in order to adapt the customs duties paid by Moroccan producers to the reality of the market.
  • On the occasion of the forthcoming reform of the European regulation INCO (consumer information), an overhaul of the labeling of origin, so that the producing country is clearly identifiable by consumers.

For more information:
PDO Tomates et concombres de France

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