After a slowdown in Moroccan soft fruit exports at the end of 2022 due to inflation in Europe which disrupted consumer behavior, the cold snap in Morocco in early 2023 dealt another blow to producers.
At the beginning of 2023, prices have improved, said Bennai Amine, president of the Moroccan association of soft fruit producers. "But because of the cold snap that hit Morocco in January and February, strawberry volumes are experiencing a drop of up to 30%, with exports falling from 14,500 tons last year to 10,000 tons by the end of February 2023."
Raspberry exports saved the season: "Despite inadequate prices at the end of 2022, prices have now improved, and export volumes increased by 24% to 34,400 tons exported by the end of February." This increase, despite the cold snap, is due to a growth in acreages, which have expanded from 800 to 1000ha, according to Bennani.
"The production cycle of raspberries ends soon, in March-April. We hope that prices remain at the same current levels to save the season," adds Bennani. According to the representative of exporters: "Prices at the end of 2022 have fallen to 2.25 EUR, which does not cover the costs of production."
Moroccan producers suffer fierce competition from Egyptian frozen strawberries, which are exported to Europe at unbeatable prices: "The prices we are offered by freezing stations are 0.45 EUR per kilo, and it is simply not viable to produce for such prices, while the Egyptian production, which benefits from low production costs, monopolizes all markets."
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Mr. Bennani Amine
Moroccan Association of Soft Fruit Producers