Farmers complain about EU attacks on Moroccan exports

Morocco

Published on Friday 23 February 2024 Back to articles

Spanish farmers, who oppose the import of cheaper Moroccan food, block highway

Moroccan farmers have been angered by the latest in a series of attacks carried out by their counterparts in Spain and France against trucks that are transporting Moroccan fruit and vegetables to the European market. There have been similar attacks for several years but have become increasingly commonplace as resentment has mounted among European farmers who oppose the import of cheaper food products from their southern neighbour. 

The current protests have only amplified the situation with several attacks taking place in both France and Spain in February. There are mounting complaints about the quantities of Moroccan fruit and vegetables imported into the EU. According to the European Office of Statistics the Kingdom remains the leading supplier having exported 1.04 million tons — valued at €1.83 billion — between January and September 2023, which was a 6% increase on the same period in 2022. Spanish farmers, as well as its far-right VOX party, are blaming the EU’s agricultural agreement with Morocco and are demanding that it be suspended. 

These attacks are proving devastating to the Moroccan farmers who are directly affected and, more widely, are also triggering concerns among food exporters. One described how the European protestors are attacking their trucks, destroying a few pallets and leaving the trucks open, which breaks the cold seal and causes the fresh products to rot. Moroccan insurance companies are refusing to compensate the victims because they do not pay out for goods damaged as a result of strikes or protests. Some food producers have already decided they cannot afford to lose income in this way and have therefore suspended their exports to Europe. 

The situation has become so bad that Morocco’s chamber of commerce called on their French and Spanish counterparts to do something about the problem and to respect their contractual agreements with the Kingdom. On 15 February the Confédération Marocaine de l’Agriculture et de Développement Rural (COMADER) issued a statement denouncing the attacks on Moroccan products.

Agricultural exports represent an important part of Morocco’s economy and the Kingdom cannot afford such upsets. The agricultural sector is already struggling because of repeated droughts which show no signs of improving. There was a 70% deficit in rainfall between September 2023 and mid-January 2024 compared to average rainfall totals which bodes ill for the coming season. Last month Mauritania also unexpectedly imposed customs duties, of up to 171% on some items, on Moroccan produce. Some Moroccan exporters complained that the cost of clearance of one cargo truck entering Mauritania had increased from €1,600 euros to €4,600 overnight. 

These attacks are therefore a further headache for Moroccan farmers and are making an already challenging sector even more difficult. 

This excerpt is taken from Morocco Focus, our monthly intelligence report on Morocco. Click here to receive a free sample copy.

The February 2024 issue of Morocco Focus also includes the following:

Foreign Relations

  • Rabat explodes in anger at Steffan de Mistura’s visit…
  • Implications
  • France’s First Lady hosts three princesses

Politics

  • Long-awaited reshuffle is on the cards…
  • Profile: The PAM Triumvirate

Energy & Economy

  • Moroccan farmers complain about attacks on exports
  • National Investment Committee approves new agreements

Related articles

  • Morocco

    Stéphane Séjourné’s appointment rings alarm bells in Rabat

    Published on Thursday 25 January 2024

  • Morocco

    Morocco-UAE relations: fuelled by major new Emirati investment

    Published on Wednesday 20 December 2023

  • Morocco

    Islamists maintain the pressure over Morocco’s relations with Israel

    Published on Tuesday 21 November 2023

  • Morocco

    Morocco’s tourism sector showing strong signs of recovery

    Published on Thursday 19 October 2023