The regional provisions of the IAP in Souss Massa for agri-food industries will inject a total of Dh1.5 bn ($158 m) through 48 investment projects across the sector and lead to 5,000 new jobs, thereby making this sector the second-largest creator of jobs after the automotive sector (10,000 new jobs).
This broad and comprehensive approach coordinates efforts by many ministries: Interior, Economy, Finance and Administration Reform, Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests, as well as the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Green and Digital Economy.
Private sector parties to the agreement implementing the royal vision include FENAGRI, the national food-industry federation, and COMADER, the Moroccan confederation of agricultural and rural development, with the support of the region’s Wilaya (prefecture) as well as Souss Massa’s regional council.
The main targeted sectors
This industrial agro-food ecosystem aims to strengthen integration between upstream production and downstream processing, and to develop new, higher added value products, as well as boosting export while improving competitiveness, in particular through production-tool modernization.
To achieve these objectives, in particular the creation of 5,000 jobs by the end of 2021, the agreement focuses on:
- Promoting fresh fruits and vegetables
- Processing fruits and vegetables
- The dairy industry
- The meat industry
Agro-industry : scaling up success
As part of the manufacturing, or secondary sector, the agri-food sector focuses on the processing of raw materials provided by the primary sector. The primary sector is crucial to the region’s economy, with agriculture contributing 11% of national agricultural GDP, and maritime fishing 24.24%. Transforming this raw material represents 29.4% of national secondary activity, generated mainly by the transformation of seafood products which is around 28%. Today, the region hosts nearly 86 seafood processing units, including 38 freezing and 29 canning units.
The Souss Massa Region provides 60% of fruit and vegetables produced in Morocco, or 1.6 million metric tonnes, including 1 million for export. In total, this activity is made up of 600 farms and 60 packing stations in the province of Chtouka-Aït Baha, the Kingdom’s first horticultural area. Citrus is a key produce, covering nearly 10,000 acres and producing 580,000 metric tons, and represents 65% of exports and 25% of national production.
Souss Massa is also the 3rd region in Morocco for red fruits (strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries), with 12% of national production. The region also contributes more than 10% and 4% of national dairy and red meat production respectively. As for the production of white meat, the region’s share is estimated at 6% of national production. Added to this are Argan oil, saffron, and honey, which are also an important part of agriculture because of their structuring contribution to the rural economy
National agri-food champions
With particularly experienced family and cooperative networks across the region, many local companies have become flagships of the national agri-food industry, starting with the Bel Hassan Group (GBH), founded in the late 1940s. Its agribusiness branches specialize in the production of canned fish, fish meal, and oils, as well as vegetable oils, olive oil, and butter. The BICHA Group also started in the late 1940s and is a national leader in the canning of fish and vegetables and deep freezing of fruits and vegetables.
Created in 1987, COPAG was the first cooperative founded in Morocco and has since locally integrated each component of the value chain across six sectors: citrus, early fruit & vegetables, fruit juices, as well as milk, dairy products, and red meat, as part of a policy of diversifying its activity.
Other companies that have made the region famous include SILDA for milk and dairy products, as well as Fromital, which specializes in cheese. Major players also include at least 26 produce-exporting groups as identified by the Moroccan interprofessional federation of produce growers and exporters, representing the bulk of exports to the EU, Russia, North America, the Golf, and Africa. These include:
- LES DOMAINES AGRICOLES
- PRIM ATLAS
- AGAFAY DU SOUSS
- HD INREST ROSAFLOR
- SOEMA AVRYL
- SUN CROPS
- AGRUPA MARCA
- FRESH PRIM
- FRESH EXPRESS
- FRESH FRUIT
State financial subsidies for the promotion of investments, particularly in sectors targeted by Industrial Acceleration Plan (IAP) provisions for agro-food ecosystem, are supported by both the Industrial Development Fund (FDI) and the Agricultural Development Fund (FDA) as part of the 2014- 2020 IAP and the Green Morocco Plan. Support for new investment also includes subsidies from the regional council of Dh250/m² ($2.45 psf) of land for activities in line with IAP objectives, limited to one hectare per purchase, (2.47 acres or 107,639 sqft), or roughly $623,000, refunded upon the development of the purchased lot. Industrial land is available in dedicated, cluster-development industrial parks strategically distributed across the region.
These include, but are not limited to, the Haliopolis Park and the Souss Massa Agropole, specifically developed to support food processing industries, with each covering roughly 185 acres. The Haliopolis sea-food processing industrial and business opened for business in 2016, while the first and second tranche of the Agropole IP were delivered in 2017 and 2020 respectively, with a third tranche of roughly 75 acres still in development. Each of these clustered industrial and business development is supported by another IP dedicated to logistics and intermodal commercial transport (Aït Melloul dryport), by Qualipôle, hosting R&D, quality control and training, and by a large, nationally funded, industry-specific vocational training institute to support investors with qualified, specialist labor.
The Industrial Acceleration Zone and both Agadir II industrial parks can also accommodate the agro-food industry ecosystem.
Extracted from the Atlas Original 2021, page 30.
Read the article directly on the e-book for free by clicking here.