Rabat - The European Union’s agriculture commissioner dismissed rumors that Morocco has exceeded its authorized export quota for tomatoes directed to its neighboring continent, according to FreshPlaza, an agriculture news source.
Rabat – The European Union’s agriculture commissioner dismissed rumors that Morocco has exceeded its authorized export quota for tomatoes directed to its neighboring continent, according to FreshPlaza, an agriculture news source.
The source said an Italian member of the European Parliament started the rumors and said exporters from the North African country have flooded the EU tomato market by doubling their import volume, causing the staple’s price to be artificially low. .
Commissioner Phil Hogan put the rumors to rest on Tuesday, saying “the European imports of Moroccan tomatoes have not gone over the monthly quota agreed upon in the Agricultural Agreement between the two partners”.
Hogan presented the last three months of official statistics available as proof, which showed that Morocco reached 88 percent of its export quota in November 2015, 82 percent in December 2015 and 97 percent in January 2016.
Hogan attributed to the state of tomato prices to high temperatures in Europe this season which made tomato cultivation favorable and increased domestic harvests compared to previous seasons.
Morocco has been facing decreased agricultural output this season caused by the scarcity of rainfall in the country’s key farming regions. Standard and Poor’s recently halved their estimate of the country’s economic growth in 2016 due to the challenging weather conditions and their effects on crops.
The Agricultural Agreement the commissioner referred to was signed in 2012 and included fisheries products as well as fruits and vegetables. Earlier this year, an EU Court temporarily voided the agreement citing an objection filed by the separatist Polisario Front that claimed products sourced from the Western Sahara should not be covered by the pact.
After pressure from Rabat, the Council of European Union lodged an appeal to the decision late last month. The agreement’s backers claim that the Front does not have legal standing with the European Union, and thus the group’s representatives do not have the authority to object to binding agreements between governments.