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Morocco Increases Prune Imports While Decreasing Exports

Morocco’s import of dried prunes through the first eight months of 2023 increased spectacularly in jumping from 250 tons in 2022—valued at nearly one million dollars–to 1,700 tons in 2023, worth more than 5 million USD. At the same time exports of the same product decreased from 2,000 tons in 2016 to less than 200 tons in 2023, according to East Fruit on Friday.

Imported prunes had historically entered Morocco in relatively small numbers, ranging from 200-250 tons in 2016-2017. Imports from other countries were negligible or nonexistent in the years following.

Import quantities began to gain traction last year and are expected to reach record levels by 2023. Previously, dried prune import activity commenced in the summer, but supplies eventually evened out from January to August.

Spain is Morocco’s primary source of dried prunes–maintaining sixth place globally in terms of suppliers—and accounting for more than half of total Moroccan imports. Dried prunes are also imported into Morocco from France, Serbia, and Bulgaria. Between 2016 and 2022, the Kingdom imported prunes from 16 different countries.

It should be emphasized that the Moroccan prune harvest is well established, and that the country actively exports this commodity. In 2016, approximately 2,000 tons of dried prunes were transported to international markets, setting a record for Moroccan exports. However, overall exports were modest at the time, and overseas sales have since dropped to minimal levels.

Without a doubt, the steep increase in imports combined with the drop in exports demonstrates the existence of a prune deficit in the Moroccan market. Unfortunately, Morocco experienced the worst drought in 40 years last year. Water scarcity devastated the growing season of numerous agricultural products, and dried prunes were hit especially hard.