Morocco is moving forward in diversifying and increasing its agricultural exports, including those of fresh lettuce which reached a record level in the first quarter of 2023.
The Kingdom thus continues to increase its exports of fresh lettuce to France, with volumes for the first three months of the current year reaching a record level, according to the specialized portal EastFruit. Additionally, the Kingdom also exported fresh lettuce to the UK for the first time after a three-year hiatus.
According to the same source, Morocco exported around 900 tons of fresh lettuce annually in 2018-2019, with Russia representing the main recipient of this herbaceous plant. However, exports to Russia fell sharply in 2020 to almost zero in 2021. Consequently, this had a negative impact on total export volumes, which however started to increase again in 2021.
After reducing its fresh lettuce exports to Russia, Morocco has focused on the French market, which could be considered an interesting alternative. France is also one of the main importers of fresh lettuce in the world and ranks second in the world. The French market is therefore more valuable and more promising for Moroccan exporters.
Over the past five years, Morocco has multiplied its exports of fresh lettuce to France by almost 10 to reach 254 tons, recorded only between the months of January and March 2023, reveals EastFruit, and is already the fifth largest exporter. of these products on the French market. On the other hand, for French importers, Morocco remains a rather modest supplier, as around 80% of France’s total fresh lettuce imports come from Spain.
On the other hand, the UK imported 210 and 300 tons of fresh lettuce from Morocco in 2018 and 2019 respectively. However, COVID-19 and its restrictions negatively affected the HoReCa segment, and the demand for Moroccan lettuce increased. dropped sharply.
In 2023, the situation changed and Morocco returned to the British market, with around 90 tonnes of exports between the months of January and March. EastFruit has previously reported that trade with the EU has become more difficult for UK importers after Brexit. So they can see Moroccan traders as a reliable alternative, and Moroccan exports to the UK, including those of fresh lettuce, will most likely continue to grow.