The Moroccan citrus industry was able to successfully tap new markets while maintaining traditional ones in 2016-17, according to a recent report published by a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) agency.
A recently published report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) highlighted a 2% increase in mandarin/tangerine exports, a 19% uptick in orange shipments and a 64% rise in lemons, although the latter was more of a rebound to normal levels.
“Morocco continues to make strides to diversify its exports, sending greater and greater volumes to Sub-Saharan Africa and finding new markets in the Middle East,” the FAS said in the Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.
“Reemerging MedFly problems were particularly disruptive to Morocco’s citrus exports in February 2017, including specifically its exports to the United States.”
Despite this issue, the United States still recorded a 7% rise in imports of Moroccan mandarins/tangerines to 41,173 metric tonnes (MT). However, this quantity is relatively small compared to exports to leading markets Russia and the EU, which combined account for a 70% share and both notched rises of 3% in volume.
The increase in volume was supported by an increase of around 5,000 hectares in the harvested area, while just over 1,000 extra hectares were added to the planting area in mandarins/tangerines.
It was in oranges that the diversification could truly be seen though, with Sub-Saharan Africa overtaking Russia to become Morocco’s second-largest destination for the crop with 9,812MT. This still falls significantly short of the EU’s 30,304MT of imports, but the old continent did see a sharp drop of 8% year-on-year.
Russia’s imports of the fruit did not fall however, increasing 5% to 8,189MT, while Canada (+392%; 2,766MT) and the Middle East (+4102%; 2,101MT) saw exponential rises in Moroccan orange purchases.
Leading lemon market Russia saw an 81% uptick in imports to hit 6,584MT, while Canada’s rose sharply by 962% up to 875MT and the EU fell 44% to 710MT.