Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

New requirements for Moroccan watermelon exports

The Moroccan watermelon campaign had barely begun, only to be disrupted by Spanish accusations of high levels of pesticide residues. This accusation prompted Moroccan food safety authorities to impose new export conditions. The Moroccan watermelon industry is already experiencing production restrictions imposed by the authorities, justified by the country's water stress, and subsequent drop in volumes.

Said Aghzou, CEO of Valyour, said: "The Spanish notice via RASSF disrupted the season from the start. As soon as it was announced, watermelon exports were suspended and a new procedure was put in place. ONSSA now requires exporters to provide additional pesticide residue tests for each batch harvested, i.e. each truck. This implies additional delays in the issuing of the phytosanitary certificate, as well as higher costs. This new measure is not provisional and will apply throughout the campaign".

While the producer, like other growers, denies the Spanish accusations, he is in favor of the new ONSSA measures. He explains: "The incident reported by the Spanish side is dubious. That said, ONSSA's new requirements are in the interests of producers. Although this initiative was initially misunderstood by producers, the ONSSA team in the Agadir region worked with us to understand and accept this new requirement, which aims to protect Moroccan origin and guarantee product quality. Face other potential false accusations, it's our only tool for proving the quality of our production".

Watermelon volumes from Morocco this season are expected to drop significantly. According to industry sources, production is limited to 1.5 to 2 ha (depending on locality) per authorized well in certain regions such as Zagora. In other regions, such as Tata, watermelon production is banned altogether this season. Both are major regions for watermelon production in Morocco.

According to Aghzou, however, there will be sufficient volumes of Moroccan watermelons this year. He explains, "In Taroudant region, one of the other main origins of watermelons in Morocco, planting had started before the restrictive measures came into force. In addition, new regions have started producing watermelons this season."

The producer continues, "I'm pleased to inform you that this year, Valyour has adopted a new cultivation strategy that goes beyond Zagora, extending to other regions of the Grand Moroccan Sahara such as Touizguie, in order to better meet our customers' needs. The quality of the harvest is excellent, with high brix. The sizes, from 6 to 10 kg, are desirable especially for the UK market, although they are a little too small for the German market."

For more information:
Said Aghzou
Tel: +212661552683
Email: [email protected]