Brexit has significantly boosted fruit and vegetable exports from North African countries, with Morocco and Egypt emerging as the primary beneficiaries, experiencing substantial increases in their shipments to the UK.
The surge in the value of exports from Morocco and Egypt to the UK can be attributed to the growing challenges in UK trade with EU member states. The complexity of import protocols and rising food prices within the EU has led UK importers to shift their attention to non-EU nations. Consequently, the share of non-EU imports has risen from 47 percent to 51 percent.
From 2018 to 2022, the importation of fresh, dried, and frozen fruit and vegetables from Egypt skyrocketed by 150 percent, and for Morocco, the surge was nearly 200 percent.
In 2022, the UK invested £425 million in Moroccan fruit and vegetables, followed by a substantial expenditure of at least £352 million in 2023. Morocco’s exports to the UK predominantly consist of greenhouse tomatoes, mandarins, and berries. Specifically, the UK allocated £160 million for Moroccan raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries in the previous year, while £163 million was spent on tomatoes and £36 million on tangerines.
Morocco’s diverse export portfolio to the UK also includes sweet peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflowers, watermelons, and avocados. Meanwhile, imports from European sources like the Netherlands, Belgium, and France witnessed a notable decline, with French imports halving over the same five-year period. Interestingly, despite being an EU member, Poland managed to increase its market share in the UK, experiencing a 33 percent rise in imports. Spain also contributed to the shift by increasing its exports to the UK during this period.