Along with fresh grape and wine production, Morocco is a relatively large producer of raisins; however, Moroccan production of dried grapes is not enough to satisfy the domestic market demand, according to EastFruit. Thus, the country has to source raisins abroad and has already increased its imports more than 20-fold over the past five years!
Raisins are an important ingredient in the Moroccan cuisine, with tajine, couscous, various cookies and other traditional dishes made with them. Local cooks and chefs add dried grapes to a great amount of meat dishes, pastries, sweets etc. Raisins are also equally enjoyed by children and adults as a healthy and sweet snack.
It is no surprise that the demand for dried grapes continues to grow in the Moroccan market. Raisins are now the eighth most imported category among fruits and vegetables in Morocco, with the import volumes grown from 560 tonnes in 2017 to 13,000 tonnes in 2022.
Morocco is one of the largest producers of grapes in Africa and an important exporter of fresh grapes and wines. Nevertheless, areas under vineyards have been declining in Morocco over the past years. According to FAOStat, they went down by more than 12% in the past decade.
In addition to declining areas, it is tourism development and growing domestic market that have been the main reasons for rising imports of raisins. Different international and domestic tourism support programs, implemented by the Moroccan government, attract more foreign travelers and develop internal tourism. Considering diverse local cuisine, gastro-tourism is an important part of the sector.
As regards seasonality of dried grape imports in Morocco, they usually peak in June-July, the period of summer vacations and a decline in local supply of raisins.
Uzbekistan and Iran were the leading exporters of raisins to Morocco in the past few years and together accounted for more than two thirds of the Moroccan market for imported dried grapes in 2022.
The rest is mostly covered by India and Turkey, which managed to increase their exports to Morocco in 2022: 1,300 tonnes and 1,600 tonnes, respectively. Other supplying countries (South Africa, Chile etc.) account for insignificant shares in the Moroccan market for dried grapes.