Sweet Outlook for Morocco’s Date Palm Cultivation
Morocco has recorded a significant harvest of 112,000 tons of all sorts of dates in 2017 as part of achieving the goal of reaching an annual production of 160,000 tons by 2020, up from 90,000 in 2010.
To reach that goal, Morocco has integrated developing date palm cultivation in the green Morocco plan. The country aims to boost date harvest notably by planting an additional 3 million date producing palms and expanding the palm cultivated area by 17,000 hectares in the region of Tafilalt.
Speaking to the press at the recent International Date Fair in Erfoud, Agriculture Minister Aziz Akhennouch said that Morocco is on track to achieve the Green Morocco Plan goals in the palm sector. He said that 1.8 million palms have been planted so far.
This year’s output of 112,000 tons, down from 128,000 tons last year, is an achievement in view of the insufficient rainfall in main producing regions, he explained.
The Green Morocco Plan attaches utmost importance to date palm cultivation, which offers 12,000 jobs and accounts for 40 to 60% of houseshold income for 2 million Moroccans.
Morocco counts so far around 6.6 million palm trees spread on 51,000 hectares concentrated mainly in four regions, Tafilalet-Daraa, Souss-massa, Guelmil-Oued Noun and L’Oriental.
Developing Morocco’s date palm industry offers numerous investment opportunities in light of a rising domestic demand as the country continues to import 30,000 to 50,000 tons of dates annually, mainly from Tunisia.
Rising domestic production is aimed at satisfying domestic demand and achieving an export capacity of 5000 tons of high quality dates, including “Medjool” and “Najda”, by 2020.
The International Date Fair in Erfoud has brought together 250 exhibitors and 86 associations producing various sorts of dates from Morocco and abroad.