The country opened a desalination plant in Agadir and plans to have a new one in the Dajla area

Tomato cultivation in Morocco continues to grow

Morocco's agricultural sector has grown thanks to the Maroc Vert multi-year plan that was completed in 2020 and allowed the agricultural sector to account for nearly 30% of the country's GDP. Morocco currently has 21,000 hectares of greenhouses in the Souss Massa region alone, according to the Spanish horticultural magazine Aenverde. The horticultural sector continues to grow at a rapid pace, so the country could soon become Europe's second-largest supplier of tomatoes (including the United Kingdom, where it is already the largest supplier).

Advantages: transport, water, and tariffs
The country has made important investments in logistics that are strategic for export. The investment in Tanger-Med ensures easy access to the ports of Northern Europe. Via Algeciras, the Moroccan product benefits from the central high-speed rail corridor, something that Almeria cannot do since the Mediterranean corridor does not exist.

In terms of water, the Agadir desalination plant, inaugurated in January 2022, currently supplies a volume of about 275,000 m³/day. That volume is expected to increase to 400,000 m³/day, making it the largest in Africa. The price for users is estimated at 5 dirham/m³, i.e., about € 0.50.

In addition, within the framework of the Generation Green 2020-2030 plan, the Moroccan Government plans to build a new desalination plant in the Dajla area (in Western Sahara), where there is also an important agricultural production activity.

Both Morocco's greenhouse area (almost 11,000 hectares) and its greenhouse yields (878,000 tons) continue to experience a 15% growth per year, year after year. Meanwhile, cultivation in Almeria and Spain is under strong pressure due to cost increases, including labor costs, which continues to be the African country's main comparative advantage. The cost of labor in Morocco stands at about 10-12 dirhams/hour, i.e., 1/8 of the cost in Almeria.

In addition, there are de facto no import restrictions for Moroccan tomatoes. Between October 1 and May 31, Morocco has to comply with a quota in its exports to Europe so it does not have to pay any import tariffs at the border. However, the country can export an additional 28,000 tons in case there is an excess of production in certain months, which means it can export a total of about 285,000 tons of tomatoes to the EU without paying tariffs. If this figure is exceeded, an ad valorem duty (rate) of 3.5% must be paid. That is 60% less than the original 8.8% of the most recent agreement. In other words, Morocco does not mind paying that percentage, and the quotas have not changed for years, Aenverde writes.


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