MOROCCO – The import of fresh produce from Morocco to the UK has undergone a remarkable surge, nearly tripling from GBP158 million (USD200.64M) in 2018 to an impressive GBP408 million (USD518.12M) by 2022, surpassing the traditional European sources.

This trend evidences the complementary economic relationship between the UK and Morocco.

Currently, Moroccan imports play a critical role in ensuring a consistent and high-quality supply of fresh produce in the UK, crucial for maintaining well-stocked supermarket shelves throughout the year.

Notably, imports in the first quarter of 2023 have almost tripled compared to the same period in 2018, reaching GBP168 million (USD205.43 million).

This import growth has not only been advantageous for the UK but has also significantly contributed to the local economy and societal development in Morocco.

Moroccan fresh exports to the EU and UK have seen significant growth over the years thanks to its favorable climate and developed agricultural infrastructure.

The country has channeled most of its investments towards developing its greenhouse industry and currently, it has the largest areas under greenhouses in Africa and is one of the global leaders in that regard.

This initiative has resulted in Moroccan bell pepper exports to EU and UK is rapidly growing as outlined in another report by FreshPlaza.

According to the report, the Moroccan bell pepper exports have been annually growing and have increased by 45% over the past five years.

As a result, in 2022, Morocco ranked sixth in the global ranking of the biggest exporters of bell peppers, and Moroccan exports were even higher than Turkish ones.

Growing vegetables in the protected ground allows Moroccan farmers to grow bell peppers all year round and, thus, secures all-year-round sales for export.

“Usually, exports peak in January-March, and in the first three months of 2023, Moroccan exporters have already sold 56,000 tons of bell peppers, which is quite a nice start to this year’s campaign,” outlines the report.

Growing shift towards European Markets

As Morocco’s fresh produce export market diversifies, there’s a notable inclination towards European markets.

Recently, a delegation of approximately twenty fruit and vegetable importers from Central and Eastern Europe visited Morocco in October 2023.

Their mission was to explore growing trade opportunities and cultivate new business prospects with Moroccan agrifood operators.

This event, spearheaded by Morocco Foodex, an organization overseeing food export control and coordination, forms a part of the “Improving high value-added trade opportunities in the horticultural sector in Morocco” project.

It was supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Investment Centre, with funding from the European Union’s European Trade and Competitiveness Programme.

El Mehdi El Alami, Director of Promotion and Development at Morocco Foodex, highlighted the significance of these interactions, stating, “Central and Eastern European buyers were able to discover the quality of our products and professionalism of our producers.”

“Interactions with these delegations provide a pathway to foster partnerships and unlock trade opportunities.”

According to FAO, the move to directly sell Moroccan produce to Central and Eastern European buyers holds promise in enhancing the efficiency of the nation’s agrifood exports.

Presently, the route to Eastern Europe involves multiple intermediaries, leading to compromises in freshness and product value.

Luís Dias Pereira, Economist at the FAO Investment Centre, emphasized, “With our partners, we are assisting agrifood businesses in Morocco to reduce intermediation, increase margins, and aid European buyers in sourcing quality food directly from Morocco.”

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