Morocco has overtaken the US in blueberry exports to become the world’s fourth largest exporter

From Fresh Plaza | 21 March 2023

Overview of blueberries from Morocco in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on March 16, 2023. 

In 2022, Morocco became fourth among the largest exporters of fresh blueberries in the world, leaving behind even the United States, where, in fact, blueberries were first cultivated, EastFruit reports.

In total, exporters from Morocco exported 53 000 tonnes of fresh blueberries last year, and only three countries managed to exceed this volume. These were Peru (277 000 tonnes), Chile (105 000 tonnes), and Spain (87 000 tonnes).

It should be noted that the exports from the Netherlands in 11 months of last year were higher than that of Morocco, having amounted to 104 000 tonnes. However, if we take into account the volume of re-exports, the real result of the Netherlands will be much lower since it imported 130 000 tonnes of fresh blueberries during this period.

Exports of blueberries from Canada and the United States were also higher than Moroccan, but only if we take into account the volume of supplies of wild berries. Thus, out of 77 000 tonnes of exports of Vaccinium blueberries from Canada, only 18 800 tonnes were cultivated blueberries. Meanwhile, exports of cultivated blueberries in the United States amounted to 45 200 tonnes in 2022.

blueberry volumes by ori 6

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Recall that Morocco was the seventh largest exporter of cultivated blueberries in the world in 2017, losing to all the countries mentioned above and to Argentina. The annual blueberry exports from Morocco were 15 600 tonnes then, that is, the country has increased them by more than three times over the past five years!

The recipe for success in the Moroccan blueberry industry was similar to the one we described in our article on fresh strawberries. Initially, over 90% of Morocco’s exports went to Spain, which re-exported Moroccan blueberries, lengthening its sales season.

However, the share of Spain in Moroccan exports has fallen to 36% from 2017 to 2022, and the largest part of exports go now directly to blueberry-consuming countries. The main destination for sales of blueberries from Morocco is the EU countries, as well as the UK and Norway.

In addition to the EU market, Morocco in recent years has relied on the opening of markets outside Europe. Thus, since 2017, the total export of fresh blueberries from Morocco to the countries of the Middle East and Southeast Asia has increased by 9.5 times, reaching 1 900 tonnes.

Until 2022, Russia was also an interesting destination for Moroccan blueberry exporters, but due to the invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions and economic downturn, Russia imported only 400 tonnes last year. For comparison, annual exports in 2020-2021 from Morocco to the Russian market were 1 200-1 300 tonnes.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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