Morocco has been making significant strides in establishing a strong foothold within the Japanese frozen strawberry market. Export volumes have consistently increased over multiple seasons, culminating in a noteworthy milestone of 3,700 tonnes during the 2022/23 marketing year (July-June).
It’s worth noting that Moroccan exports to Japan had a downward trajectory just a few years ago. However, over the past three years, they have nearly quadrupled, generating revenue exceeding $6 million in the 2022/23 marketing year.
Traditionally, frozen strawberries from Morocco were primarily shipped to Japan in the spring, with negligible or even zero volumes during other months. However, in the 2022/23 marketing year, Moroccan exporters achieved an unprecedented milestone by maintaining a year-round presence in the Japanese market.
Japan is a prominent player in the global frozen strawberry import market, holding the 9th position among countries. Within Asia, it is the second-largest importer of frozen strawberries, trailing only behind China. China itself plays a significant role in this market as a major exporter, dominating a substantial portion of Japan’s imported frozen strawberry supply.
Interestingly, Japan has been reducing its frozen strawberry imports from China while concurrently witnessing an expansion in imports from Morocco. Consequently, Morocco’s share of total strawberry imports in Japan reached 14% during the 2022/23 marketing year and surged to 30% in the peak months of April and May.
However, despite this remarkable progress, Morocco still trails behind Egypt as the leading exporter of frozen strawberries to Japan. Egypt continues to maintain its position as the second most significant supplier of frozen strawberries to the Japanese market. Nonetheless, Morocco has successfully displaced the United States and Chile, now ranking fourth among the list of suppliers in Japan.
Since 2018, Morocco has consistently held the position of the fourth-largest global exporter of frozen strawberries. However, it’s noteworthy that total export volumes have experienced a gradual decline since the 2019/20 marketing year. In the current marketing year, exports amounted to 45,000 tonnes, a significant drop from the 68,000 tonnes achieved in the 2017/18 season.
Over the past five years, Moroccan exports to Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium have dwindled by half. Furthermore, in the 2022/23 marketing year, nearly all export markets registered a decrease in imports of frozen strawberries from Morocco compared to the previous year. The exception to this trend was Japan, which saw a notable increase of 25% in Moroccan strawberry imports.