Rabat – Exports of citrus fruits from Morocco have grown significantly during the 2016-17 agricultural season, with Russia overall receiving the majority of Morocco’s citrus exports, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report published in June.
The biannual report by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service has shown that the exports of Moroccan citrus are thriving, thanks to “greater and greater” volumes sent to Sub-Saharan Africa and new markets found in the Middle East.
The biggest importers of Morocco’s tangerines and mandarins are Russia, European Union, Canada, United States, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East.
Tangerine and mandarin exports to Russia between September and March increased by 3 percent in the 2016-17 year from the same season in 2015-16, leading them to now stand at 193,290 metric tons (MT). The overall increase of tangerines and mandarins from Morocco to all destinations is 2 percent, from 459,801 MT to 470,346 MT.
The report noted that the presence of the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) in the northeastern Moroccan region of Berkane had “disrupted reports” during the season. Moreover, sub-Saharan Africa had continued to grow as “an increasingly dependable export destination,” given that exports were up 12 percent from 21,226 MT to 23,816 MT.
“Increased shipments” of fresh oranges were exported to the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, with exports in the Middle East jumping remarkably from 50 MT of fresh oranges in October-March 2015-16 to 2,101 MT during the same period in 2016-17, a 4,102 percent increase. Sub-Saharan Africa became the second largest importer, registering a 160 percent increase to 9,812 MT, replacing Russia, which received a relatively minor increase of 5 percent to 8,189 MT.
Canada also recorded a 392 percent increase to 2,766 MT from 562 MT, allowing the country to remain the fourth largest importer of these fruits.
Despite being the only region whose imports dropped, the EU remained the main importer of Moroccan oranges, buying 30,304 MT, an 8 percent decrease from the year previously.
Lemon production totaled 40,000 million MT for the Oct-Mar 2016-17 period, and Russia received the highest number of lemon and lime imports at 6,584 MT, an 81 percent increase on the same period the previous year. Canada was the second highest single importer of lemons, registering a 962 percent increase to 875 MT. By contrast, EU registered a 44 percent decrease, from 1,278 MT to 710 MT.