For the first time, exports of agricultural and marine food products in Morocco exceeded the threshold of 80 billion dirhams in 2022 (about 8 billion dollars), which represents an increase of about 20% compared to 2021, as the value of these exports amounted to about 68 billion dirhams (about 6.7 billion dollars). ).

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests, the agricultural and marine food products sector ranks third among Moroccan export sectors, after phosphate and automobile exports.

advanced performance

Despite the turbulent global context and the climatic conditions that Morocco witnessed in 2022 due to the severe drought, exports of agricultural food products achieved an advanced performance compared to previous years.

According to the data of the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture, the volume of fresh fruits and vegetables exports reached 2.3 million tons during the year 2022, at an annual growth rate of 10%, and red fruit exports recorded a growth of 20%, reaching 132 thousand tons. The year 2022 was also marked by a remarkable growth in citrus exports. towards the US market by 2.2%.

As for processed agricultural products, their exports recorded an increase of 5% in terms of volume and 19% in terms of value during the year 2022 compared to 2021, at a time when olive oil exports recorded a growth of 85% in terms of volume and 49% in terms of value.

The agricultural export sector has witnessed significant dynamism in the past years, which enabled Morocco to be positioned among the world's leading exporters of food products, as it is ranked among the top five exporters of adult products, argan oil, olive pickles, small citrus and tomatoes.

marine product growth

On the other hand, exports of marine fishing products during the year 2022 recorded a growth of 13% in terms of volume and 16% in terms of value, to reach 28 billion dirhams (about 2.8 billion dollars), and exports of canned fish recorded a growth of 7% in terms of volume and 30% in value. terms of value.

According to official indicators of the Ministry of Agriculture and Maritime Fisheries, during the first nine months of the year 2022, exports of fish flour and oil increased by 38% as a result of an increase in exports of this product to Turkey by 49%, which constitutes the first market for Morocco’s exports of fishmeal, and the turnover of these products amounted to 2.3 billion dirhams ( about $229 million).

The volume of exports of frozen products increased by 11% as a result of the development of exports of frozen sardines by 60%, and in terms of value, the number of transactions for these products amounted to 11 billion dirhams (one billion dollars).

The exports of canned food and half of canned food increased by 17% as a result of the increase in the exported quantities of canned sardines by 28% due to the increase in the quantities exported to sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and the European Union by 27%. In terms of value, the turnover of these exports increased by 34% and amounted to 6 billion. Dirhams ($500 million).

A report by the Economic and Social Council (a government advisory body) indicated the importance of the marine fishing sector in the Moroccan economy, as it provides nearly 700,000 jobs, and marine resources consist of more than 500 species, which makes Morocco rank first in Africa and 13th in the world in terms of fish production. The fishing industry handles about 70% of coastal fishing production and exports about 85% of its production to about 100 countries.

During the year 2022, exports of fishing products recorded a growth of 13% in terms of volume and 16% in terms of value (Reuters)

The resilience of agriculture in the face of drought

Economist Mohamed Al-Jedry attributes the good performance of exports of agricultural and marine products in 2022 to several reasons, some of which are local and others linked to the international context, and these products constitute 14% of the gross national product.

Al-Jedari explained to Al-Jazeera Net that exports of agricultural food products, consisting mainly of fruits and vegetables, were not affected by the drought because they depend on irrigation, unlike grain and corn that depend on rainfall, pointing out that the production of these products continues for two seasons, and therefore, these exports benefited from the season Good for 2021.

Al-Jedari adds that Moroccan exporters have indirectly benefited from the financial support that the government disbursed to vehicles transporting goods, and this support directed to towed locomotives amounted to 6 thousand dirhams for each locomotive, which contributed to reducing the cost of transportation, freight and logistics.

For his part, economic expert Abdelnabi Abu Al-Arab believes that the development of the volume and value of agricultural and marine exports is an indication of the steadfastness of these two sectors in the face of a number of negative circumstances and factors that affected the national economy last year.

He added, in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net, that the announced figures indicate the dynamism of the national agricultural sector and its ability to penetrate international markets, as well as the volume of external demand for Moroccan products.

The expert explained that the steadfastness of the agricultural sector, despite the drought in the country, was achieved thanks to the large estates that have modern equipment and the ability to connect to irrigation means, which made them maintain their ability to produce and export.

The Ministry of Agriculture had launched programs to disseminate water-saving irrigation techniques and valuing agricultural irrigation water, including the national program for the economy of irrigation water, in order to confront the scarcity of rain and water scarcity.

The drip irrigation project made it possible to save two billion cubic meters of water used in the agricultural sector, while the area of ​​​​land irrigated by drip irrigation amounted to about 700 thousand hectares, out of one million and 600 thousand hectares of irrigated lands.

Agricultural products formed from fruits and vegetables were not affected by the drought because they depend on watering (Al Jazeera)

External factors

In addition to the internal factors related to the management of the agricultural sector, the two experts believe that there are external factors that Morocco has benefited from.

Abu Al-Arab pointed out that the increase in the value of agricultural and marine exports is due to the benefit of these products from the high rate of inflation witnessed by the international markets and the accompanying global rise in prices.

As for Al-Jedari, he believes that the exchange rate of the dollar against the euro contributed to the competitiveness of products directed towards Europe, in addition to the fact that Moroccan agricultural products benefited from the decline of some competitors, such as the Spaniards and Turks, who suffered from an unfavorable agricultural season and from the use of pesticides that are not acceptable to Europe.