MOROCCO – Morocco’s avocado exports are set to reach an impressive 60,000 tons this season in defiance of an ongoing water crisis and governmental appeals to conserve resources, , showcasing the industry’s resilience.
President of the Moroccan Avocado Association, Abdellah Elyamlahi, expressed optimism about exceeding the 60,000-ton target, stating, “Exports have reached 42,45 thousand tons, or 70% of the 60 thousand tons target we set ourselves.”
This achievement marks a new record for export volumes and emphasizes the robust performance of Morocco’s avocado sector.
Despite Morocco facing a severe water crisis, the favorite markets for Moroccan avocados include the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and France.
This data, though positive for the industry, surfaces amidst concerns and measures taken by the government to ration water usage in response to the ongoing drought.
Elyamlahi acknowledged the challenges linked to drought and the water crisis, stating, “The drought is indeed hitting the south of the country hard, but in the north, where most of the production is located, we enjoy good rainfall and huge underground water reserves.”
Despite these challenges, Morocco’s avocado industry continues to thrive, driven by unprecedented demand and strategic measures.
The Moroccan government has implemented water rationing campaigns, affecting various sectors, including car washing services and public hammams.
Additionally, measures have been taken to restrict the expansion of water-intensive crops like citrus fruits, avocados, and watermelons.
However, the water-intensive nature of avocado cultivation has sparked criticism, particularly as Morocco grapples with declining water levels and consecutive years of drought. Each avocado requires approximately 70 liters of water to grow, significantly more than other crops.
In response to these concerns, Elyamlahi defended the industry, stating, “Perceptions of avocado as a water-intensive crop are a myth not backed up by scientific evidence.”
He pointed to a research paper titled “Debunking the Myths,” highlighting that avocado cultivation requires a comparable amount of water to crops like apples and pears.
Furthermore, Elyamlahi emphasized the positive impact of the Green Morocco plan, introducing drip irrigation to manage water consumption effectively.
Despite the challenges, the head of Morocco’s avocado association remains confident in the industry’s sustainability. An agronomist at Netafim supported this stance, noting that continuous irrigation, even in areas with minimal rainfall, can significantly boost avocado yields.
While concerns persist about water scarcity, Morocco’s northern regions, where avocado plantations are concentrated, benefit from more groundwater reserves and received some rainfall, making them suitable for avocado production.
The robust performance of the avocado sector amid challenges underscores its significance to Morocco’s agricultural landscape.
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