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Morocco again increases nut imports

Morocco has been again increasing the imports of nuts, as shown by the import statistics in January-April 2023, reports EastFruit. Imports had been growing rapidly over the past years but fell in 2022. Nevertheless, in the first four months of the current year, the situation changed to the opposite.

Since 2016, imports were annually growing by 45-50%, and in 2020 the growth rate stood at 90%. In 2021, the nut imports reached their record high more than 50,000 tonnes.

Morocco ranks 22nd in the global ranking of the biggest importers of nuts. The import structure includes cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and several other categories, with shelled almonds and in-shell walnuts as the most important ones. Almonds account for 74% in the total imports of nuts in Morocco (in the value terms), and the share of walnuts is at 13%.

Almonds are successfully grown in Morocco, but production is not enough to satisfy the market demand. Thus, almond imports have been growing. However, in 2022, domestic production of almonds went up, and imports fell by about 20% year-over-year.

In 2022, imports also grew in the walnut segment, with the main reason of a decline in imports from China (one of the main suppliers). As a result, imports of in-shell walnuts went down by 10%.

Nevertheless, with lower stocks of last year’s crop, Moroccan importers increased their purchase volumes and imported more than 20,000 tonnes of nuts in January-April 2023. As these months are important for imports of several nut categories, the total nut imports are expected to increase again in 2023.

It is interesting that in 2022 imports went down only in the segments of almonds and in-shell walnuts. Meanwhile, imports of other categories, such as cashew nuts, in-shell pistachios, shelled hazelnuts, continued to grow.

Read also: Morocco accounts for a half of Canada’s total imports of mandarins in current MY

In 2022, the total nut imports amounted to more than $186 mln in Morocco in the value terms, with the USA as the biggest supplier thanks to its leading position in the global nut market. The list of other important suppliers included also China and Chile that ranked 10th and 11th in the global ranking of nut exporters.

Morocco imports shelled almonds mainly from the USA and Spain. In 2019, they were joined by Portugal. Walnuts are imported from China, the USA, and Chile. In 2018, the list of suppliers also included Argentina. In 2022, Argentina again entered the list.

Shelled cashew nuts are shipped to Morocco from Vietnam. In 2021, Vietnam was joined by Côte d’Ivoire, one of the leading exporters of cashew nuts globally.

The USA is the biggest supplier of pistachios to Morocco. Pistachios are also imported from Iran, Turkey, and Greece. In 2023, Greece regained its position in the Moroccan pistachio market.

Shelled hazelnuts are imported to Morocco mainly from Turkey (the global leader in exports), with Spain and Italy shipping significantly less volumes. In 2023, the import geography of hazelnuts widened: Georgia appeared in the list of suppliers again, and Azerbaijan exported to Morocco for the first time ever.

The lists of nut categories and exporting countries also include some more exotic names and suppliers. Chestnuts are shipped to Morocco from China and Spain, Brazil nuts – from Peru and Bolivia (the leader before 2021), shelled walnuts – from Ukraine and the USA. Since 2021, Morocco has also been importing kola nuts from Côte d’Ivoire. Before 2021, Morocco imported macadamia nuts from South Africa and pecan nuts and pine nuts from the USA and Mexico.

EastFruit

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