Successful yet difficult blueberry season in Morocco

From Fresh Plaza | 9 May 2024

Overview of blueberries from Morocco in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on May 2, 2024.

The Moroccan blueberry season is drawing to its end, in 2 to 3 weeks. A few producers with a steady stream are continuing to export. Amine Bennani, President of the Moroccan Association of Soft Fruit Producers, gives a positive assessment, but not without difficulties and oddities.

Higher volumes than last season

Bennani says: “Volumes have increased considerably over last season. Pending the centralization of data at the end of the campaign, I can confidently report a double-digit increase in exports. However, last season’s volumes were exceptionally low, and this season only represents a return to normal. This increase is essentially due to expanded acreage and high yields of older varieties, as we have not yet reached our production potential due to the adverse climate.”

Morocco Fresh Blueberry Export Volume by Partner | Cultivated Conventional

chartlink 1

Prejudicial climate

“The season was marked by several climatic accidents which caused heavy losses,” explains Bennani. “We had two episodes of strong winds in the Larache/Moulay Bousselhem region. In the Agadir region, the chergui (dry, hot wind) caused losses in August. Above all, the climate caused a grouping of volumes and less regularity during the season, so we saw large bunches in April in the north of the country, thus a peak of the harvest.”

The Spanish alert

In March, just before the harvest peak, a Spanish notification via the RASSF system alerted to the detection of hepatitis A in a shipment of Moroccan strawberries. The accusation was immediately denied by the Moroccan Association of Soft Fruit Producers. This incident disrupted the Moroccan blueberry campaign, says Bennani. “This incident was strongly amplified by the Spanish media. It did not influence our customers, who continued to maintain solid demand. It did, however, affect the Moroccan food safety authorities, who imposed severe export procedures on soft fruits, including blueberries. This prompted one-shot exporters to withdraw from the market. Growers with a steady flow of production and several shipments a week fared better under the new procedures and were in business until the end of the campaign.”

Odd prices

The increase in volumes naturally translated into lower prices than the previous season, but price fluctuations were odd, explains Bennani: “There was no consistency. We started the season in January with good prices, around 80 MAD per kilo, due to the El Niño weather phenomenon which impacted competition in Latin America. In March, prices returned to normal levels. The particularity of this season was the very good prices for large sizes, especially 18+, which had never been seen before. To give an overall picture for the season, the weighted average price was around 40 MAD.”

Morocco Fresh Blueberry Export Price History | Cultivated Conventional

chart 1 1
chartlink 1

Labor shortage

Bennani: “The April harvest peak in the Larache/Moulay Bousselhem axis, Morocco’s blueberry stronghold, coincided with the month of Ramadan and the Eid celebrations, as well as the harvesting of other crops in the region. There was a severe shortage of labor. This led not only to higher labor costs but also to delays and the loss of fruit freshness. Large volumes no longer met the criteria for the fresh segment and had to be redirected to frozen, sold at a much lower price of 10dh per kilo”.


According to Bennani, the main destination for Moroccan blueberries this season was, as usual, the UK, followed by Europe. Russia was a premium market, where buyers were willing to pay more for sizes 18+, a novelty of the season. The growers’ representative adds: “We’re continuing to develop the Middle East market. Demand from Canada picks up with the end of the season, and this is another market we’re developing.

As for Asia, “Singapore and Hong Kong showed good demand at the start of the season. Negotiations are still underway with China. We held a visit there this year and are waiting to hear back from the Chinese government, which we hope to see next season. “

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

Access the original article with this (Link)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copy link