MOROCCO – Morocco is grappling with an unprecedented spike in garlic prices, with rates soaring to over 70 DH/kg marking a steep increase rarely witnessed in recent times.

This sudden surge, nearly 80% to 85% above historical levels, has sparked bewilderment among local producers and market experts.

Hicham Mouha, president of the Igran cooperative in the Taliouine region, expressed perplexity, stating, “I don’t understand what’s going on. I even contacted a few colleagues in Spain to find out why there was an increase.”

Mouha highlighted the decline in local garlic production due to drought and an unidentified virus, yet these factors alone don’t fully account for the drastic current escalation.

While Morocco’s annual garlic consumption hits 40,000 tons, cultivated areas amounting to 2,000 hectares limit local production to 12,000 tons, mainly concentrated in Taliouine, Taznakht, and the Saiss Plain.

However, farmers in the Saïss region, aiming to capitalize on quicker crop cycles, increasingly favor onions over garlic due to soaring global onion demand.

The Moroccan Interprofessional Federation for the Production and Export of Fruits and Vegetables (FIFEL) expressed incredulity over the unforeseen surge, underscoring its detachment from the smaller, fragmented garlic market.

Despite this, the market, valued at billions of dirhams, remains intertwined with global prices, relying heavily on international garlic markets in China, Egypt, Spain, and France.

Spain’s drastic 40% drop in garlic production due to drought, along with price hikes in French markets, has contributed to international price fluctuations.

Local producers attribute the surge to intermediaries and importers who wield significant market influence, dictating prices and impacting both producers and consumers.

The challenges encompassing successive droughts, cultivation intricacies, viral infections, and drying up of supplies contribute to declining garlic production.

Abdelfettah Mzaouri, a Casablanca wholesale market representative, attributes the dwindling supply to economic inefficiencies, storage complexities, and evolving consumption patterns.

“This trend signals a probable continued decline in national garlic production, urging farmers to maintain garlic cultivation amid dwindling market interest,” he said.

Despite hopes for a price reduction, market experts anticipate sustained elevated prices around 60 DH/kg in the near future.

Meanwhile, according to Mordor Intelligence, the global garlic market is expected to grow from USD 525.17 million in 2023 to USD 600 million by 2028, attributed to rising consumer demands for healthy convenience foods.

“However, market fluctuations, influenced by climatic and political factors, continue to impede its growth,” reads the report.

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