On Sunday, 22 October 2023, the Gharb/Loukkos region experienced extreme weather conditions with rain accompanied by strong gusts of wind, sometimes exceeding the 100 km/h threshold, and dust rising. This province harvests 75 per cent of Morocco's small fruit production, and in particular the entire strawberry production and 50 per cent of blueberry and raspberry production.
These very intense wind gusts accompanied by dust had damaging consequences for the cultivation of red fruits (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries) grown in a region covering 9,000 hectares, of which 80% of the plastic tunnels and greenhouses were removed.
Major damage to farmers was caused by deformation and deterioration of metal structures (15% of the tunnels), tearing of plastic (80% of the plots), fruit damage (loss of up to 20% of raspberry production) as well as uprooting of plants.
It is estimated that it will take at least 2-3 weeks for the situation to return to normal; at the moment, available production is greatly reduced and there are farms that are unable to harvest produce for the fresh market. In addition, a power outage that lasted almost two days in the Larache area has aggravated the situation with the cessation of irrigation of the plots, the closure of the refrigeration and export stations, and the loss of all the stock in the cold stores.
The inter-branch association sympathises and shows solidarity with the disasters and calls on all operators and authorities to support them in overcoming this difficult period and to relaunch the campaign on a sound basis.