Rabat - Morocco’s agriculture industry has a chance of setting a new record in avocado exports in the 2022-23 season, according to horticulture analytics platform East Fruit.
The North African country has already set a new record for the volumes of avocado exported between July and January, reaching 35,500 tonnes or 60% more than what was recorded during the same period last season.
Moroccan exporters will need to only export 7,000 more tonnes to foreign markets before June to break the record, a number that East Fruit expects to be met seamlessly based on trends from past years.
The country’s avocado production has been consistently increasing over the past five years, as Morocco went from the world’s 12th largest exporter to ninth at the end of 2022.
European countries also remain the biggest destinations for Moroccan avocados, with Spain receiving almost 40% of exports, followed by France, the Netherlands, and Germany.
Meanwhile, exporters and officials continue to voice concerns over the effect of the country’s ongoing water crisis on the avocado crops.
Morocco’s climate, with its mild winters and warm streams from the Atlantic Ocean, proved perfect for avocado production. Exports of the fruit brought the country almost $90 million in 2021.
But with avocados also being a very water-demanding crop, their production is now entering challenging times with the country going through a period of drought.
Morocco’s water resources took heavy hits over the past few years due to the effects of climate change and the severe drought in 2022 which was the country’s worst in three decades.
In September 2022, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry in charge of the budget decided to end irrigation subsidies for avocados, watermelon, and citrus fruits.
The decision came after calls from several Moroccan environmental associations to end the cultivation of avocados and melons, which are very water-intensive crops that have at the same time been important exports for the country.
Watermelon exports from Morocco experienced a similar milestone recently, as the country overtook Italy becoming the second-largest supplier of the fruit to the European Union.
While Morocco has potential to surpass Spain as well to become the top supplier, it remains to be seen what effect the water crisis will have on watermelons as well.