Clementine producers are facing a crisis in Morocco, as abnormally low prices hit growers, especially in the region of Berkane, reports Agri Maroc.
Many growers have elected not to harvest their production, since labour costs are higher than the current market price.
Last week, Moroccan minister of agriculture Aziz Akhannouch met with members of the profession to propose solutions to the crisis relating to planting, markets, varietal imbalance, a lack of packing stations, and a lack of organisation in terms of marketing.
Those present included the president of the Chambers of Agriculture, Morocco Citrus, Citrus Export, the Association of Moroccan Citrus Producers (Aspam) and the Association of Moroccan Citrus Packers (Ascam).
Khalid Bounajma, president of Ascam, commented: "The first [market] that is within our reach is none other than the local market, which can capture 400,000 tonnes, but which must be organised. This has the advantage of guaranteeing good levels of quality and traceability for export."
"As it is marketed today on the local market, this fruit loses 40 per cent of its weight, because it remains exposed to the open air,” he continued. “It is not subjected to cold treatment and is therefore not stabilised. The fruit continues to breathe and draws from its reserves and especially the sugar it contains, which negatively impacts its taste qualities.”