Morocco is rapidly increasing its fresh berry exports to the Middle East, a crucial market. Moroccan exporters have experienced an impressive eightfold surge in shipments of fresh berries to Persian Gulf countries since the marketing year 2018/19 (July-June). Notably, they have already exceeded the previous year’s numbers within the initial months of the ongoing season.
Morocco has achieved an impressive average annual growth of 64% in its fresh berry exports to the Middle East in recent seasons. This region has become pivotal for Moroccan berry exports, traditionally reliant on the EU and the UK consumer base.
In the initial four months of the 2023/24 marketing year, Morocco has already set a record by delivering 127 tons of berries to the Persian Gulf market. The peak supply period is anticipated between January and March, with shipments typically rising in November and tapering off by May.
Notably, fresh blueberries constituted over 40% of the 8 thousand tons of Moroccan exports to the Middle East in the 2022/23 season, surpassing other berries. Blueberries emerged as the most exported berry to the Middle East for the first time in that season, with shipments growing more than 30 times since the 2018/19 marketing year. Concurrently, strawberry exports increased almost fivefold, and fresh raspberry supplies rose by more than fourfold. However, the export volume of other berries, mainly blackberries, remained relatively low, not exceeding 130 tons in the 2022/23 marketing year.
Since the 2020/21 marketing year, the United Arab Emirates has emerged as the primary destination for Moroccan berries in the Middle East, accounting for over half of the export volumes by the conclusion of the last marketing year in 2022/23. Notable markets also include Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with Moroccan berry exports to the latter skyrocketing by more than 60 times since the 2018/19 marketing year. Smaller quantities of Moroccan berries were additionally shipped to Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, and Oman.
It’s noteworthy that Saudi Arabia and the UAE stand out as the major importers of berries in the Middle East, with other regional countries maintaining lower import levels. Morocco faces competition in the Persian Gulf countries’ blueberry segment from the Netherlands, the USA, and Southern Hemisphere nations such as South Africa, Peru, and Chile. In the strawberry market, competitors include Egypt and EU countries, while Mexico poses a challenge in the raspberry segment.