With agricultural exports on the rise, Morocco's agriculture sector looks to new markets and changing consumer trends

 

One of the main objectives of the Green Morocco Plan is to improve the competitiveness and value addition of the country’s agricultural products in the global marketplace. Since the plan was launched in 2008 the sector has seen a net increase of agricultural exports year-on-year.

Between 2008 and 2018 the value of agricultural exports increased by 117%, and agri-food exports grew by 137%, compared to 94% for imports. Consequently, the sector’s positive performance in the export market has been able to offset the trade deficit seen among other sectors.

Export Markets

The EU continues to be Morocco’s main trading partner and an important source of foreign currency revenue, with the region accounting for 59.4% of trade in 2017. The country has had an advanced status trade agreement with the EU since 2008. In 2017, 64.6% of exports were to the EU, and 56.5% of imports came from the EU.

Agricultural products represent 23% of imports, or €3.4bn, while agricultural imports from the EU represent 7.3% of all imports, worth €1.6bn. In December 2018 the European Parliament Committee on International Trade adopted the Morocco-EU agricultural trade deal, which will further strengthen the strategic relationship for both parties.

The second-most important destination for Morocco’s agriculture is Russia, as agriculture products represent 77% of Moroccan exports to the country. King Mohammed VI and President Vladimir Putin signed a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2016, and in the following years the two countries have been working on boosting exchanges across various sectors, including agriculture.

The minister of agriculture of Russia, Dmitry Patrushev, told international media that trade between Russia and Morocco had risen to a total of $900m in the first half of 2018, representing an increase of 20% compared to the previous year.

Morocco also exports to Africa, Asia and the Americas, albeit to a lesser extent. However, it is looking to expand into new markets. Having rejoined the African Union in 2017, and applied to join the Economic Community of West African States, there is the potential for agricultural trade to increase between Morocco and the rest of the continent.

According to local media, there has also been an increase in demand for Moroccan exports in the Middle East. This is a promising development, as diversification of source markets is necessary for the country to expand its exports.

Successful Season

In 2017/18, 2.9m tonnes of agri-food products were exported, an increase of 4% from the previous season. Agri-food exports have increased by 83% between 2010 and 2017, from Dh29.3bn (€2.6bn) to Dh53.5bn (€4.8bn).

According to the Food Export Control and Coordination Organisation, the public body responsible for managing Morocco’s agricultural exports, agrifood products are now the second-largest source of foreign exchange, contributing to around 22% of the country’s total exports.

Changing Trends

Although the growth in exports is directly linked to the increase in production, other factors such as international trade agreements, or transport and logistics costs, can also impact agricultural export performance.

Additionally, the country has to adapt to consumer trends in its main export destinations, as well as the wider global marketplace. Consumption preferences can regularly change, and it is important for agricultural producers to respond to these evolving habits in order to remain profitable and identify new potential sources of revenue.

Adapting to other international consumer trends, such as the rise in demand for organic produce, is essential in order for Morocco’s agricultural exports to continue to increase and enter new markets.

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The Report: Morocco 2019

Agriculture chapter from The Report: Morocco 2019

The Report

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