Morocco has restricted tomato exports since late February with a total ban in place from last week until Thursday to lower domestic prices, the head of the country’s main fruit and vegetable exporters’ group said on Friday.
Lahoucine Aderdour, head of the Federation of Moroccan Exporters of Fruits and Vegetables, said the Agriculture Ministry had agreed on a daily quota of tomato exports last month before stopping all exports from March 18 to 22, with a lower quota of 700 tonnes a day from Thursday.
On Friday, exporters were given a quota of 1,000 tonnes but that was less than the usual 1,500 tonnes they used to have, he said.
Higher-priced produce such as cherry tomatoes, which represent more than half of the North African country’s tomato exports, are not included in the restrictions, Aderdour said.
Bad weather in Morocco and Spain has disrupted vegetable harvests this year, leading to shortages of salad staples in Europe and to higher prices that helped push UK inflation to 10.4 percent in February.
Traders fear the export cuts will hit their market share in key markets in the European Union and in Britain.
Morocco also imposed some restrictions last year but dropped them after domestic prices fell.
This year, Morocco’s main tomatoes producing region of Souss-Massa region expects an output of 695,000 tonnes, down from 975,000 tonnes last year, according to agriculture ministry figures.