It is like the end of a long journey for Moroccan tomato growers. After a heat wave, a period of seed shortages, ongoing phytosanitary problems and a difficult transition to the cultivation of resistant crops, all resulting in a delayed start to the season, Moroccan tomatoes are finally available for export.
Amine Maataoui Belabbes, director of Comaprim: “Availability depends on the type. We only started harvesting round tomatoes around mid-October, more than two weeks later than normal. Vine tomatoes are currently being harvested and they will be available soon. In general, there is a delay of about 1 month in all breeds.”
The Moroccan tomato sector has been shaken by climate risks and export restrictions over the past two years, which has somewhat slowed down the development of the current season. “Our area has decreased by 10% this season, but we are not really representative of the sector. We expect to harvest 25-30% fewer kilos.” According to recent statements by professionals, the tomato area in Morocco has remained at the same level as last season, but the picture is changing from grower to grower.
Belabbes explains that Moroccan tomato growers are yearning for a significant price increase: “Buyers involved with their growers have been able to see the problems the sector is facing this season. The summer was simply terrible for both growers and buyers. Above all, I would like to emphasize that the increased prices absolutely do not mean higher margins for growers, because every grower is now affected by the virus to a greater or lesser extent. We are going through difficult times and we call on our customers to take care of the growers.”
Despite the challenges, the tomato sector has made tremendous progress over the past two years. In the ranking of the largest tomato exporters in the world, Morocco has jumped from fifth to third place in 2022. It has therefore become the most important source of tomatoes for several European countries.
For more information:
Amine Maataoui Belabbes
Tel: +212 528 303 101 (Morocco)