Morocco Citrus Annual 2009
Morocco’s citrus production in MY 2009/10 is estimated at 1.441 million MT, a 13 percent increase over the previous year production. This increase is mostly due to production from new plantations and increased yield of small citrus varieties. This year harvest is reported to be of better quality, especially in terms of fruit sizes, due to sufficient rainfall in the previous season which had a beneficial impact on fruit quality. Total exports of fresh citrus for MY 2009/10 are projected at 532,000 MT, about 10 percent higher than exports in the previous year. The EU and Russian market remain as the main destinations for Moroccan citrus exports. At the present time, Moroccan citrus production can hardly keep up with growing demand from both export and local markets. Citrus exporters will likely continue to focus on the traditional EU market because of the preferential access, and also continue to target the less restrictive Russian market with incentives provided by the Moroccan government to increase exports to that market.
In recent years, Morocco has not been able to fill the duty-free quota granted by the EU for Clementines (168,000 MT) and oranges (326,000 MT). Under a new ambitious agricultural strategy called the “Green Plan”, the government of Morocco is planning to increase the direct subsidies payments provided for new citrus plantations. In October 2009, a Ministry of Agriculture decree (# 2-09-601) was issued to increase the financial supports provided to citrus producers. New citrus plantations will receive direct investment payment of 12,000 MDH per hectare ($1,550 HA), up from 7,800 MDH per hectare in the past two years.
Moroccan citrus exports to the U.S. (mostly small citrus) have almost tripled since the implementation of the U.S.-Morocco free trade agreement (FTA). Despite the significant increase, Moroccan citrus exports to the United States have been relatively constrained by USDA/APHIS stringent import requirements due to the Mediterranean fruit fly problem that exists in Morocco.