As the berry category booms across Europe, Moroccan grower and distributor Elite Harvest Maroc is intensifying blueberry and raspberry production to keep pace with the increasing demand.
The Rabat-based company is increasing output across its Kenitra farms as a key part of its strategy to grow berry volumes that it believes have exportable potential for the UK market where blueberry consumption is at an all-time high.
Speaking to PBUK during the London Produce Show recently commercial officer Adil Tounsi explained how berry production over the north of Morocco is steadily increasing with more plantings scheduled to come to fruition in the next two years.
“This is the first year of producing all kinds of berries, however in around two years from now we will have more much more production because we are very ambitious in the berry category which has so much growth potential,” he says.
“We’re growing blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and gooseberries all over the north and we also have plum, peach, nectarine, olives, as well as grapes almond and citrus. So, we have a very large basket of produce.
“However, berries is demonstrating a growing demand and we want to meet that with good quality fruit because all of the indicators are that this high demand will not slow down, especially in the UK.”
Tounsi adds that Elite Harvest Maroc has approximately 1,400 hectares of production with another 200 hectares scheduled.
“The UK and Europe are definitely the main destinations that we are focusing on; from Europe we can then go into other destinations such as Asian markets, the US and Russia. However Europe is the hub.”
Supplying the domestic market is not likely for the immediate future because Moroccan markets tend to offer low prices, adds Tounsi.
“The domestic market for berries is not that interesting for us right now. However we are trying to develop something new with supermarkets and a good point of sale that we can produce ourselves, with our own logos and marketing.
“This is the trend; try to market your own products based in the store and these are the kinds of ideas that we are working on for the local markets, so there is potential.”
Aside from berries,Tounsi adds that later this year output in other fruit categories will be increased across the company’s other farms located in Fes, Sefrou, Marrakesh and Beni Mellal.