Avocados from Morocco Are Expanding in the Competitive EU Market

Published Feb 12, 2023
The acreage under avocadoes in Morocco increased from approximately 1,500 ha in 2010 to over 6,000 ha by 2020, according to the Moroccan Avocado Association (MAVA) with annual production reaching 40,000 MT. In 2022, heat waves and drought affected the flowering stage of avocado production, resulting in the lower availability of export avocados. The EU market was the main focus of Moroccan traders in 2022, while farmers are turning more to avocado production instead of vegetable production.

Morocco's avocado production area has expanded rapidly over the last decade. According to the Moroccan Avocado Association (MAVA), the acreage under avocadoes increased from approximately 1,500 ha in 2010 to over 6,000 ha by 2020. The annual production average is 40,000 MT. Despite adverse weather affecting production in 2022, Moroccan farmers are constantly improving the production of avocados, while traders are mainly focused on the nearby EU countries in terms of placement.

Moroccan avocado production has been negatively affected by the drought, with growers expecting at least a 30% decrease in production volume compared to the 2021/22 season, according to Tridge's on-the-field insight. A heat wave [in the middle] last year disrupted the flowering phase and resulted in a decrease in volume. Furthermore, many producers postponed harvesting because they were dissatisfied with demand and preferred to wait for the market to stabilize rather than sell at low prices. All of these factors contributed to a decrease in productivity. Still, losses in production due to adverse weather were somewhat offset thanks to the entry of new growers into the production.

Morocco's avocado production is primarily concentrated in the northwestern region, and the temperate climate of Gharb in the Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region is ideal for avocado cultivation. According to the Regional Directorate of Agriculture, the Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region produces 84% of Moroccan avocados. This region, bounded north and east by the Rif Mountains, has loose clay and sandy soils ideal for growing avocados. The Casablanca-Setat region also has avocado orchards. The main varieties used in production are Hass, Zutano, Feurte, and Bacon.

Small and medium-scale farmers dominate avocado farming in Morocco. These farms range in size from 1 to 20 ha. More farmers are switching from growing popular vegetables and fruits in the country to producing avocados because it has proven to be more profitable.

Source: Tridge

EU countries dominate the export markets of fresh avocados from Morocco, with Spain leading the way, followed by France, Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland. These five countries had 94.75% of Morocco’s avocado export share with a combined export value of USD 109.21M in 2021. One of the main advantages for Moroccan traders in terms of avocado export, over LATAM competitors, is the geographical proximity to the EU.

*2022 estimated quantities based on the first six months of data

Source: USDA and Tridge

Given the favorite climatic conditions for avocado production in Morocco, along with the short transit time of shipments, it is no wonder that avocado acreage and export are increasing. It is estimated that the export volume will increase threefold to reach 100,000 MT in the next five years, from the 34,000 MT expected in the 2022/23 season.

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