MOROCCO – The Moroccan Confederation of Agriculture and Rural Development (COMADER) has expressed deep concern following recent vandalism of Moroccan agricultural exports in some European countries.

Farmers in Spain and France, protesting what they see as unfair competition from non-EU countries, have resorted to blocking roads and raiding trucks exporting Moroccan vegetables.

Disturbing videos circulating widely depict farmers setting foreign trucks ablaze and destroying the produce being transported.

While there are no reported injuries, these actions have resulted in significant financial losses and damages.

In response, COMADER issued a statement expressing serious concern over baseless attacks on Moroccan products and media misinformation affecting local farmers.

The Confederation intends to collaborate with European partners to maintain trade relations for mutual benefit, emphasizing the importance of upholding the flow of agricultural products with mutual respect.

“We cannot tolerate any unacceptable behavior,” emphasized COMADER, noting that trade between Morocco and the EU operates under the Partnership Agreement.

This agreement, established in December 2010 and implemented in October 2012, governs agricultural exchanges, and grants preferential treatment to Moroccan agricultural exports, aligning them with EU standards.

The agreement, consisting of Protocols 1 and 2 of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement, has been instrumental in fostering a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship in the agricultural sector.

Morocco’s greenhouse vegetable exports face decline, except for bell peppers

Meanwhile, new data has revealed a downturn in Morocco’s greenhouse vegetable exports attributed to climate issues, notably drought, impacting various vegetables.

According to EastFruit, the exports faced a severe setback, witnessing a significant drop in tomato shipments, while other vegetable exports remained stagnant.

However, bell pepper exports proved resilient, experiencing a noteworthy 9% increase, reaching 48,000 tons from July to November 2023.

EastFruit emphasized that despite the overall decline, sweet pepper exports were a bright spot for Morocco’s agricultural sector during this period.

Tomato shipments, on the other hand, suffered a decline of almost 20%, totaling 206,000 tons, while cucumber exports remained unchanged at 6,000 tons.

“The first months of the 2023/24 export season were not very fruitful for Moroccan exporters, despite their impressive performance in the past,” remarked EastFruit.

Morocco has been grappling with the driest seasons in the past five years due to insufficient rainfall. Although recent heavy thunderstorms and rainfall provided some relief, scorching temperatures that followed impacted several provinces.

Farmers and agriculture experts are cautiously optimistic, hoping that the rainfall will contribute to mitigating the ongoing drought crisis.

Morocco’s Ministry of Equipment reported a slight increase in the country’s dam filling rate following the latest rainfalls, contributing an additional 269 million cubic meters.

The filling percentage rose from 22.9% on Friday to 24.5% on Monday, offering a glimmer of hope for improved water resources.

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