Dates: 70,000 tonnes to import to stabilize prices during Ramadan

Thanks to the Green Morocco Plan, the date palm sector has made undeniable progress both in terms of production and in terms of added value.

On the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, the phoeniciculture interprofession is reassuring. The domestic market will be sufficiently approved as of this year. In addition to some 160,000 tons of local products, demand will be met in part through the import of nearly 70,000 additional tons. This will make it possible to balance supply and demand and, therefore, to keep prices within more or less reasonable levels.

The supply of dates to the Moroccan market should proceed normally this year, as in previous seasons. On the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, the interprofession reassures the consumer: the market will be supplied in part by national production stocks, which total around 160,000 tonnes. To be able to cover 100% of national needs, Morocco resorts to imports every year. “To balance supply and demand on the market, date imports could weigh some 70,000 tonnes this year,” confided to the Morning Moulay Mustapha Derkaoui, secretary general of the Interprofessional Federation of Phoeniciculture (FIP). According to the operator, the interprofession recently held meetings with the association bringing together importers.

These meetings serve, according to him, as a platform for exchanges around issues related to market supply. “The volumes to be imported are thus defined according to the updated estimate of market needs”, emphasizes Derkaoui. Regarding prices, the operator believes that this depends on the varieties put on the market and the availability of the product. “In general, prices go up 15 to 20% during the holy month,” he says. The secretary general of the FIP recalls that, thanks to the Green Morocco Plan, the sector has made undeniable progress both in terms of production and in terms of added value. Indeed, thanks to the process of supervision and support, farmers have generated more and more added value by focusing on the development of production. On the storage and packaging side, Derkaoui reports the existence today of 24 economic interest groups (GIE) which manage some 19 refrigerated units.

This now allows producers to make much larger margins than in the past. Recall that the date palm covers an area of ​​nearly 50,000 ha, for a total workforce of nearly 5 million feet. This represents 4.8% of the world’s date palm heritage. It mainly applies along the Ziz and Drâa valleys. In 2019, the sector earned 1.87 billion dirhams in turnover and generated added value of 1.31 billion. During the 2020-2021 campaign, production was close to 143,000 tonnes. “Production has steadily increased over the past 5 years, following the investments mobilized in the sector and the support provided to producers”, emphasizes Derkaoui. It should be noted that Morocco has received its place as the 12th largest producer of dates and has consolidated its position with a production deemed record of 143,000 tonnes for the 2019-2020 campaign (up 41.3% compared to the 2018-19 campaign). ) . Similarly, a real increase in these indicators is expected for 2022 with the entry into production of all the palm trees planted. According to Agriculture data, the area planted in date palm extension between 2010 and 2014 is nearly 2,500 ha.

In order to achieve the objectives of the program contract (2008-2020) of the sector (17,000 Ha to be planted in extension between 2010 and 2020), the area which remained to be planted in extension between 2015 and 2020 is 14,500 ha. Based on a density of 100 vitroplants/ha, the average annual needs for vitroplants are 242,000 vitroplants, or 1.45 million vitroplants for the period 2015-2020. It should be noted that these extension zones will be exclusively planted with vitroplants instead of shoots, in order to avoid the transmission of existing diseases in the old palm groves to the extension zones, in particular the Bayoud disease. The program contract for the development of the sector will have enabled the installation of a cold storage capacity of 6,445 tonnes, the creation of a packaging capacity of 19,000 tonnes and the labeling of 8 varieties of dates including 7 IGP and 1 Agricultural label.

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