The 2022/2023 season witnessed a stunning development in the carrot export industry. Morocco, traditionally a modest supplier of carrots to Spain, saw a significant surge in the 2022/23 season, with Spain importing 5.7 times carrots from Morocco compared to 2021/2022. in the 2022/23 Marketing Year (MY).
This surge catapulted Morocco to the fourth position among carrot suppliers to Spain, trailing only the Netherlands, Portugal, and France. Surprisingly, this new standing was achieved by outpacing Belgium, Europe's second-largest exporter of carrots, to Spain. This achievement is particularly impressive, given that Morocco's carrot exports to Spain had been quite limited in preceding years, ranging from a mere 20 to 280 metric tons (mt) per marketing year.
Over a span of six years, a mere 936 mt of Moroccan carrots found their way into the Spanish market. However, the current season saw an unprecedented rise in exports, with more than 1.5 thousand mt of Moroccan carrots valued at USD 720 thousand, with the peak of exports recorded in February-March.
Source: Trade Data Monitor
Several factors contributed to Morocco's newfound dominance in the Spanish carrot market. One pivotal factor was the drought that afflicted several European countries in 2022, including France, Portugal, and Spain. This drought had a direct impact on carrot production, leading to reduced carrot exports from France to Spain. Morocco was quick to seize this opportunity and increased its carrot supplies. Consequently, the share of Moroccan carrots in Spain's total imports, which had hovered around 1% over the past six seasons, surged to 7% by the end of the 2022/2023 MY.
Spain is a significant player in the global carrot market, both as an exporter and an importer. It ranks eighth among the world's carrot suppliers and imports carrots from twelve countries. The Netherlands, France, and Portugal are the major sources of imported carrots for Spain, accounting for 87% of its carrot imports.
Source: Trade Data Monitor
Morocco's success in expanding its presence in the European carrot market is especially noteworthy because carrots are not among its primary export categories. Unlike tomatoes or sweet peppers, Moroccan carrots have made impressive strides, with exports increasing 7.6 times over six years, reaching nearly 52 thousand mt in the 2022/23 season. This remarkable growth has seen Morocco's position in the global carrot supplier rankings rise from 30th place in 2017 to 18th place in 2022. Moroccan carrots now find their way to 34 countries across the globe.
While Morocco predominantly focuses on supplying carrots to African countries, the results of the 2022/2023 MY highlight a significant shift. Moroccan carrot growers managed to re-establish their presence in the Portuguese market, a remarkable feat after several years of absence.
The surge in Moroccan carrot exports to the Spanish market is not just a matter of timing; it is also influenced by production shortages in some European countries, particularly those engaged in vegetable production. The market's need for alternative sources of carrots opens a window of opportunity for Moroccan growers to meet the rising demand and bridge the supply gap.
In conclusion, the skyrocketing Moroccan carrot exports to Spain and their growing presence in the broader EU market mark a significant turning point for Morocco's agricultural exports. This achievement is not merely a coincidence but the result of careful strategy, adaptability, and favorable market conditions. As Morocco continues to diversify and strengthen its agricultural exports, the carrot industry stands as a prime example of its expanding global influence.