11 Oct 2017 17:00

AgMin expects to increase Moroccan mandarin imports, boost grain supplies to Morocco to 1 mln tonnes

RABAT. Oct 11 (Interfax) - Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev expects to see an increase in imports of Moroccan mandarins and other agricultural products which do not grow in Russia, as well as a boost in Russian grain exports to Morocco to 1 million tonnes.

"Morocco is number one in terms of mandarin imports [in Russia], making up 25% of our market. I think if those volumes grow, then why not. In any case, we import around 1 million tonnes of citrus fruits per year," the minister told journalists in Rabat on Wednesday.

He said that Russia had "traditionally, historically and for decades" imported Moroccan mandarins. "They have a good reputation and are noted for their good quality," he said.

Tkachev also said that Morocco was Russia's largest tomato supplier. "Citrus fruits are in first place, tomatoes, above all the tomato group, also occupy a leading position based on volumes and I hope they do not lose ground to someone else," the minister said. "Turkish producers will sooner or later arrive on our market. Nevertheless, tomatoes will hold a worthwhile position [among supplies from Morocco]."

He said that Russia also expected to be supplied with dates and other exotic products from Morocco.

"For its part, the Moroccan market is important for us, most of all, the grain market," the minister said. "We are planning to supply at least 1 million [tonnes of grain], vegetable oil, confectionery goods, sugar, poultry, beef and lamb."

Russia supplied 735,000 tonnes of wheat for $116 million to Morocco in 2016.

He said that Russia could use the Moroccan market as a hub to supply agricultural products to other African countries.