Cucumbers intended for export. (Illustrative photo)
Moroccan cucumber exports to Portugal reached record volumes during the 2022-2023 season (July-June). According to the specialized site East Fruitthe quantity of cucumbers exported to Portugal increased “ spectacular”multiplied by 17 in the space of four years.
While the volume of cucumbers produced in 2019-2020 did not exceed 0.5 tons, the volume of cucumbers destined for the Portuguese market exceeded 2,000 tons in the previous season. This constant sales growth in this market allowed Moroccan exporters to make a profit of US$2.3 million ($M).
This record level, both in terms of volume and visitor numbers, is mainly explained by two factors. First of all, the 2023-2022 season was marked by the continuation of shipments throughout the year, while previously cucumbers were delivered to the Portuguese markets from November to March, with deliveries peaking in January and February, the same source said.
The second factor is the drought that hit this Iberian country last year: Portuguese imports of cucumbers in previous years did not exceed 4,000 tons per year, with local production meeting a large part of the demand, the same source explains.
However, the lack of rainfall has had a direct impact on the production of this vegetable, while restrictions have also been placed on its cultivation. To fill the shortage on the domestic market, Portugal had to turn to foreign suppliers to import around 7,700 tons of cucumbers in the 2022-2023 season.
Spain is the largest supplier of cucumbers to Portugal and accounts for approximately two-thirds of total imports. A quarter of this comes from Morocco, putting the kingdom in second place. However, according to East Fruit, it is possible that part of Spanish cucumber exports consists of ” re-export of Moroccan cucumbers “, as Spain was also affected by the drought.
It is worth noting that Morocco exported cucumbers to 32 countries in the 2022-2023 season, with the total sales volume reaching 21,400 tons and generating $19 million in revenue for the country. Nearly half of all exports, or 9,900 tons, went to Spain, with shipments to that country almost doubling compared to the previous season.
Moroccan cucumber exports, which are showing consistent growth, are expected to increase further next season, especially to Spain and Portugal, both of which are facing an even more severe drought, according to forecasts fromEast Fruit.