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Morocco Becomes Top Blueberry Exporter to UAE, Leaves South Africa Behind

Morocco keeps expanding its presence in the global blueberry market, with the United Arab Emirates as one of the most rapidly growing directions, reports EastFruit. In the MY 2022/23 (July-June) Morocco headed the list of the blueberry suppliers to the UAE, having outstripped South Africa.

It is worth mentioning that Morocco has previously not exported blueberries to the UAE in large quantities. However, the steps of searching for alternative markets outside Europe taken by Moroccan growers turned out to be successful, and Moroccan blueberries appeared in the Middle East market, including the UAE.

In the MY 2020/21, Morocco shipped just 211 tonnes of blueberries to the UAE market. Then the export volumes tripled and reached 982 tonnes valued at $6.3 mln in the MY 2022/23.

In its turn, the UAE imports blueberries from Morocco, South Africa, the Netherlands, Peru, and several other countries (22 in total in the MY 2022/23). The Netherlands, the USA, and Spain were the leading suppliers just several years ago. Then the list of key suppliers was headed by South Africa, which accounted for more than a third of the total blueberry imports in the UAE.

Meanwhile, Morocco also continued to increase its share. Morocco accounted for just 2.6% of imports in the UAE just five years ago. In 2022/23, the share reached 36% and was hitting 80% in February-May! As a result, Morocco became the leading supplier of blueberries to the UAE and left South Africa behind.

Nevertheless, despite such a competition in the list of suppliers, Morocco and South Africa do not actually compete in reality. The fact is that Morocco exports blueberries to the UAE in January-June, while blueberries from South Africa are imported from July to December. As a result, the two countries create the year-round supply of blueberries in the UAE market.

Rapid development of fresh blueberry exports allowed Morocco to become the seventh largest exporter of these berries globally in 2022. Moreover, Morocco also ranked fourth in the global ranking of the exporters of cultivated blueberries, outstripping the USA and Canada.

The revenues from the Moroccan blueberry exports totaled $315 mln in the MY 2022/23. Blueberries ranked fourth in the list of fruit and vegetable categories with the highest revenues from exports, with only tomatoes, mandarins and raspberries bringing more. Furthermore, in the first half of the current year, blueberries even ranked second, with tomatoes heading the list.

The European markets are definitely key directions for Moroccan blueberry exports, with Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and France jointly making the share of 85%. However, the share of Spain has significantly fallen over the past five years, as Moroccan exporters started removing re-exporters from its export structure. Meanwhile, the shares of direct consumers were growing: in the MY 2022/23, Morocco exported blueberries to 37 foreign countries.

Source : East Fruit