When the days get shorter here again, the focus will shift to Morocco. There are tomatoes to fill the shelves in winter. Even though it has only just officially been summer, the North African country is already attracting a lot of attention. If exposed winter cultivation again results in much lower volumes, cultivation in Morocco may offer a solution. “I think we have taken great steps at the right time,” said Kacem Bennani Smires of the Delassus Group at the World Tomato Congress held recently. Duroc, part of the Delassus group, grows tomatoes on 450 hectares and also packs the tomatoes itself.
Kacem Bennani Smires and Abdelkhalak Torres de Duroc, who are part of the Delassus group
Kacem refers to the professionalization that has taken place. “We became very professional very quickly while remaining competitive.” Initially, the Moroccan tomato stood out for its competitive price, but according to Kacem this is now unjustified. In terms of quality, the tomato from Morocco is also an asset, and all peripheral conditions are well taken care of. “Instead of just sending our tomatoes to Perpignan, we now supply a lot more pre-packaged produce all year round to the UK and Germany, for example.
Duroc is fully committed to snack tomatoes. Last year, the tomato company promised to launch two new varieties This year.
“The UK in particular has put Morocco on edge,” says Kacem. “They put us to work getting certifications, among other things.” This makes him confident about the sustainability of Moroccan culture. “Food miles are only a small part of the total carbon footprint of food. Gas is not really a problem for us, although the costs of many other factors of production are also increasing. We import almost everything, from seeds to packaging materials. more expensive.”
The same goes for competition. Morocco has a disadvantage in competition with tomato cultivation further north: water. “It’s our weakness,” admits Kacem. The entry into production of a large desalination plant in Agadir later this year is therefore very important for the sector there. “It’s a blessing.”
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