Moroccan citrus growers achieve major export increase to U.S.

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Moroccan citrus growers achieve major export increase to U.S.

Growers in Morocco shipped a record 110,500 tons of fresh citrus to the U.S. during the 2021-22 export season, an estimated 156 percent increase compared with the season before, while total volumes in the sector also rose 12 percent from 2020-21.

Buoyed by strong U.S. demand and benefiting from making investments required to ship to North America, Morocco’s citrus sector experienced a strong production and export season, although shipping and payment problems could affect the upward growth trend.

According to a newly-released USDA citrus report, the increase in shipments was primarily attributable to high levels of demand, although Moroccan growers’ investments in the fruit packing technologies and cold treatment infrastructure necessary for shipments to the U.S. also played a major part.

However, high freight costs remain a concern for citrus exporters, with reports that prices were up 150 percent in 2021-22 compared with the 2020-21 season.

In terms of product categories, Moroccan fresh tangerines and mandarins production and exports both increased from the previous 12 months. But while the harvested production area rose slightly between 2020-21 to 2021-22, from 58,850 hectares to 58,900 hectares, the real growth was seen in exports.

Particularly impressive growth was seen in exports to the U.S., which rose from 42,732 tons in 2020-21 to 103,239 tons in 2021-22, a 142 percent increase. This contributed substantially to an overall 28% increase in exports for the season as a whole, with volumes up from 454,608 tons to 581,728 tons.

In fresh oranges, even more spectacular growth was recorded to the U.S. market, with exports up 1792 percent , from 382 tons to 7,226 tons during the October-March season. Overall, fresh oranges exporters grew from 32,722 tons to 56,967 tons, a 74 percent increase.

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