UK – Alarming shortage in some fruits and vegetables, notably tomatoes, has hit UK’s supermarket shelves, resulting in some of the leading chains imposing purchase limits, with the UK government warning that the situation could last up to a month.

 The British government attributed the shortages of these products on the shelves to the bad weather conditions in South Europe and North Africa, namely Morocco and Spain, some of the UK’s main fruit and vegetable exporters, the BBC reported.

According to Euronews, approximately 25% of the UK’s tomatoes come from Morocco, whereas 20% come from Spain.

The Moroccan Association of Fruit and Vegetables (APEFEL) has addressed the UK’s tomato shortage, attributing it to Morocco’s “unusual climatic conditions,” Fresh Produce Journal reported.

“As a natural consequence, the daily harvest has dropped sharply, resulting in shortening the supply capacity of packing stations and provisions of the local Moroccan market, as well as markets abroad,” APEFEL indicated in a statement.

To ensure food security and stabilize prices at home after tomato prices increased at an alarming rate, reaching up to MAD 16 in some regions, the Moroccan government recently restricted its supplies to the British market and West Africa.

However, it is unclear if the ban will also extend to
Europe, which is a significant importer of fresh produce from Morocco.

Morocco’s farming sector’s exports rose 20% to a record 80 billion dirhams (US$7.8bn) last year despite the worst drought in decades.

Mohamed Zemrani, the deputy head of the Moroccan association of African market suppliers, noted the ban would harm fresh produce traders.

“The export ban means bankruptcy for many suppliers with the loss of outstanding payments exposing many to lawsuits as well as a loss of job opportunities,” he told Reuters.

In a recent survey, 93% of Moroccan respondents said the soaring food prices in the country have become a top concern, identifying food prices and drought as the two “top crises” facing the country.

Published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the survey report concludes that income and livelihood losses are “the biggest challenges.”

Israeli Netafim plans to launch a $2.8 million irrigation equipment factory in March

In a bid to alleviate the country from such a situation in the future, an Israeli company that specializes in precision irrigation solutions, Netafim, plans to commission a manufacturing plant for micro-irrigation materials and equipment based in Kenitra on March 2.

The project is to cost a total of 30 million dirhams (US$2.8 million). The new unit will primarily produce drippers for irrigation to initially supply the domestic market before gradually extending its offer to other countries in North Africa and the Middle East (MENA).

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