MOROCCO – Moroccan exports of fruit and vegetables to the United Kingdom have grown exponentially, following the Union’s withdrawal from the EU on December 31, 2020.

Ever since the result of the Brexit referendum, the UK government has been looking to expand its diplomatic and economic relationships.

One facet of this has materialized through the UK’s imports of fruit and vegetables, as it looks to decrease its reliance on EU member states.

As part of the UK’s renewed efforts to consolidate new partnerships following Brexit, Poole Harbour Commissioners announced a new direct shipping route connecting the UK and Morocco.

The freight ferry service will travel between Poole in Dorset, England, and Tanger Med in northern Morocco.

According to statistics released by UK’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and compiled by Fruit and Vegetable Facts, imports of Moroccan produce for January 2021 have grown by 51% compared to January 2020.

The biggest growth, by far, can be observed in the import of Moroccan courgettes, which saw an increase from 95 tons imported in January 2020, to 878 tons imported in January 2021, an increase of 822%.

Demand for Moroccan strawberries also saw a marked increase, from 231 tons in January 2020, to 1,292 tons the following year, a growth of 459%.

The total Moroccan produce exports grew from 20,236 tons in January 2020, to 30,648 tons in January 2021.

January 2021 also marked the first time in recent years that Morocco’s exports of fresh produce outperformed those of the Netherlands.

Moroccan courgettes imports increased by 822% in January 2021

While January last year the UK imported 34,513 tons of produce from the Netherlands, and 20,236 tons from Morocco, in 2021 the UK imported 25,495 tons from the Netherlands, and 30.648 tons from Morocco.

Earlier in the year Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch said the country’s vegetable and fruit exports totalled 474,000 tons in January.

The UK’s growing reliance on Moroccan produce accounted for 6.33% of the North African country’s fruit and vegetable exports for January.

The Moroccan government signed a trade and political continuity agreement with the UK government in London on 26 October 2019.

This was aimed to preserve all the benefits that the two countries granted each other under the Morocco-EU Association Agreement, notably on trade which was worth £2.5 billion (US$3.4 billion) in 2018.

So far, the UK government has secured agreements covering 66 countries plus the EU, worth £890bn (US$1.2 trillion) of trade in 2019.

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