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Moroccan Tomato Export Limitation Hits UK

Morocco's decision to reduce the export of tomatoes to certain markets is beginning to be felt, particularly in the United Kingdom.

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Given the Spanish road strikes and the fall in production by British and Dutch greenhouse producers, the British market is now suffering from the decision of the Moroccan authorities to limit the export of Moroccan tomatoes, reports the British newspaper “Fresh Produce Journal” ( FPJ). A decision aimed, since the beginning of March, to limit national exports, in order to ensure availability and price stability, especially during the month of Ramadan.

“Spanish truckers’ protests against rising fuel prices, cuts in planting in the UK and the Netherlands due to soaring gas prices, and bans on Moroccan exports to drive down prices on the internal market have created a shortage of tomatoes in Europe,” the newspaper explains, adding that British supermarkets are feeling the effects of the decision to suspend the export of Moroccan tomatoes. An inventory affirmed by Alex Margerison Smith, marketing manager in a supermarket and supplier of tomatoes to British retailers, contacted by FPJ .

Within supermarkets, “we are seeing gaps” in the tomato shelves, he said, recalling that “exports of tomatoes from Morocco to the United Kingdom have increased considerably in recent years”.

Fatiha Charrat, commercial director of the main producer-supplier of Moroccan tomatoes in the United Kingdom, Delassus, explained that “this restriction is not a usual situation. She added that “normally at this time of the year the prices are stable because the availability in Europe is correct”.

“Dutch, French and other European production tomatoes are starting to arrive on the markets. Due to the high cost of gas, European growers postponed cultivation, creating a lack of production of tomatoes as well as peppers and cucumber,” she said.

It should be recalled that Morocco remains the leading exporter of fresh tomatoes to the European market. In 2019, trade in goods between the EU and Morocco amounted to 56%, with nearly half of Morocco’s imports coming from the EU that year, according to the EU Agricultural Outlook 2021-2031 .

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