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Early Moroccan vegetables: mixed results for a difficult season

The Moroccan early fruit and vegetable season is drawing to a close. Mostapha Mohattan, an exporter of Moroccan produce specializing in the French market, gives his account of a very eventful season, marked by increasingly uncertain and erratic conditions.

Mohattan says, "The overall picture is mixed. We've had to deal with strikes by European farmers, which have led to blockages that caused delays in the supply chain, as well as fluctuating weather conditions in Morocco, disease-related problems in plantations, and price fluctuations on the market. All these factors have had a direct or indirect impact on our exports."

The exporter continues, "But fortunately, demand for our products has remained stable despite these disruptive factors, and some Moroccan producers will fare better than others thanks to their ability to adapt to changing market conditions, particularly those who have been able to maintain consistent quality, competitive prices, and a diversified offer, should fare better".

According to Mohattan, producers and exporters of tomatoes and courgettes have fared better this season. He explains: "Export volumes have varied according to product, with an increase in sales of tomatoes and courgettes, while sales of peppers, beans, and eggplants have remained stable compared to the previous season. Although prices fluctuated widely due to supply and demand on the European market, demand for these products remained just as strong, with a preference for quality products at competitive prices".

On the other hand, "flat green bean growers have had a particularly difficult year, and some of them have even suffered losses because the market price for this product has stagnated at a low level for a long period of the year, while production of this product has been more expensive this season because of speculation".

The season is more difficult for summer fruit, especially melons. The exporter says, " Exports of watermelon from Morocco have fallen sharply this year, and a significant proportion of production has been sold on the local market. The prolonged drought has led to a reduction in the amount of water available for irrigation, which has had an impact on quality and production volumes. In addition, infestations of parasites, particularly on watermelons, have been reported, requiring additional treatments."

"To sum up, I think that despite the climatic and logistical difficulties encountered during the current season, sustained demand and the quality of our products have helped to maintain a positive overall performance, except for a few products. Prices have remained competitive despite the external pressures we have faced, and some European markets have shown a strong appetite for Moroccan produce," says Mohattan.

Despite the unpredictable nature of the season, Mohattan believes that this is the right time to invest. He explains, "Given the logistical difficulties and the vagaries of the weather, as well as the uncertainties of the market, we need to get a better grip on our operations in Europe. This year, we set up a new structure in Perpignan called Fructimoor Agrotrade Nexus to be as close as possible to our customers and partners. From next season, this entity will be a point of connection between buyers and the Moroccan producers we represent. It will act as an intermediary between the various stakeholders, facilitating the availability of fresh agricultural produce, transactions, and distribution in the various regions of Europe. At Fructimoor, our sourcing company in Morocco, our commitment to quality and sustainability remains as strong as ever, and we are as determined as ever to supply fresh produce directly from producer to consumer guaranteeing optimal freshness with short delivery times."

The difficult season also calls for product diversification, concludes Mohattan."In addition to fruit and vegetables, we're adding to our catalog fresh aromatic herbs of Spanish origin, such as parsley, coriander, mint, and laurel, and Moroccan origin, such as chives, basil, rosemary, and others. We're also adding round tomatoes and courgettes for the high-quality processing industry."

For more information:
Mostafa Mohattan
Fructimoor Agrotrade Nexus
Tel : +33659752318 / +212656873543
Email: [email protected]