MOROCCO – Morocco has maintained its position as the second-largest tomato supplier to the UK, surpassing Spain for the third consecutive year.

Data from the United Nations’ COMTRADE database, as reported by Hortoinfo, reveals a consistent uptick in Morocco’s tomato exports to the UK, while Spain’s figures show a declining trend.

A decade ago, in 2014, Spain outpaced Morocco’s tomato exports to the UK by a staggering 195.73%, amounting to a difference of 83.95 million kilos. However, this gap has progressively narrowed over the years.

By 2020, Spain’s lead dwindled to a mere 9.77%, with sales of only 8.13 million kilos more than Morocco. In 2021, Morocco overtook Spain as the primary tomato supplier to the UK, with a notable difference of 44.6 million kilos.

This trend continued in 2023, with Morocco’s tomato sales to the UK exceeding Spain’s by 84.92%, equivalent to 57.69 million kilos.

Despite this shift, the Netherlands remains the UK’s top tomato supplier. In 2023, the Netherlands exported 129.42 million kilos of tomatoes to the UK, constituting 35.11% of total imports. However, even the Netherlands has witnessed a 30.3% reduction in tomato sales to the UK since 2014.

Morocco’s ascent to become the UK’s second-largest tomato supplier is remarkable. In 2023 alone, Morocco sold 125.62 million kilos of tomatoes to British importers, accounting for 34.08% of total imports. This marked a 192.90% increase from 2014, when Morocco’s tomato sales to the UK stood at 42.89 million kilos.

On the contrary, Spain, once holding the second position, now ranks third. In 2023, Spain sold 67.93 million kilos of tomatoes to the UK, constituting 18.43% of total imports.

Interestingly, Spain’s average price per kilo stands at 2.4 euros, the highest among the top five tomato suppliers to the UK market.

Belgium secured the fourth position in the UK’s tomato import market in 2023, with sales of 21.89 million kilos, representing 5.9% of total imports. This marked a significant 266.12% increase compared to 2014.

Overall, the UK’s total tomato imports have decreased by 10.79% between 2014 and 2023. Despite this decline, the value of imports has surged, reflecting changing consumer preferences and market dynamics.

The data from Hortoinfo aligns with findings from the recent ICEX-Eurostat report, indicating Morocco’s rising prominence in the EU tomato market.

Morocco’s market share has grown by 18.86% over the past five years, while Spain’s share has declined by 25.2%. This underscores Morocco’s increasing competitiveness and its emergence as a major tomato supplier to both the UK and the EU.

Morocco’s tomato exports surge in 2022/23 MY

Morocco’s tomato exports have witnessed a substantial surge, reaching 716,700 tons in the 2022/2023 market year, generating revenues of USD 990 million, according to data from East Fruit.

The report highlights a remarkable 25% increase in tomato exports from Morocco over the past five years, positioning the country as one of the fastest-growing exporters in the global market.

Notably, Moroccan exporters primarily target European markets, with France emerging as the leading buyer of Moroccan vegetables, including tomatoes.

In Q1 2023, one-third of all tomatoes sold in the EU were sourced from Morocco, emphasizing the country’s pivotal role in meeting European demand for fresh produce.

With Moroccan tomatoes finding their way into 44 countries, the nation’s agricultural sector continues to demonstrate robust growth and export potential.

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