Written by 10:18 pm Economy

Morocco to lift ban on potato, onion exports to Africa amid industry struggles

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In a welcome sign for the struggling Moroccan agricultural sector, authorities will be lifting the ban on potato and onion exports to Africa.

This news comes as a lifeline to exporters grappling with significant losses due to the restrictions.

Sources told Hespress that Moroccan authorities have assured exporters that a quota system will be implemented, allowing a specific amount of potato and onion exports to resume.

However, details regarding the exact timeline for the ban’s removal remain unclear.

The news follows urgent pleas from Moroccan exporters who have prepared written requests to the government. 

These requests pointed to the devastating financial impact of the ban, particularly targeting African markets. 

Farmers said that they have suffered millions of hectares in losses this season alone, warning that continued restrictions could force them to halt production entirely in the coming season.

The Moroccan Association of Exporters had stated that African exports play a critical role for the industry’s survival.

The association also warned that a continued ban would render production economically unsustainable for the upcoming season.

Despite the mounting pressure, the government has yet to provide a concrete timeline.

However, there’s cautious optimism among stakeholders that their concerns will be addressed swiftly to minimize further economic damage.

Exporters were to submit their formal requests following the conclusion of the International Agricultural Fair in Meknes. 

The government’s ban on exporting onions and potatoes to certain African countries was due to rising domestic prices.

Consequently, vegetable and fruit exporters were compelled to accept this decision in order to preserve the country’s food security.

The reason behind this decision is primarily linked to consecutive years of drought and rising prices of agricultural materials and supplies. 

Sources told Hespress that exports to Africa were not the cause of the rise in onion and potato prices for consumers, and the proof of this is that their prices continued to rise despite the ban on their export to some countries.

Professional source who spoke to Hespress drew attention to the fact that the fundamental problem that explains this rise lies in the measures taken by the Ministry of Agriculture. 

The sources explained that  in order to guarantee the growth of onion and potato production and ensure their availability to consumers at reasonable prices requires the ministry to support small and medium-sized farmers who grow the most widely consumed vegetables and fruits for Moroccan citizens and direct them to the local market, and not only support large farmers who have started growing certain types of vegetables primarily for export due to the high profits they generate.

It is worth noting that the government had decided in February of this year to halt the export of onions and potatoes to African countries due to their rising prices at the time in the local market, before later exempting Senegal from this decision at the request of the government of that country.

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