The Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests has placed the development of local products as a promising alternative among the privileged goals of the Green Morocco Plan by implementing a viable and sustainable local development particularly in remote and difficult areas. The importance given to the development of local products in Morocco comes from the country’s real potentialities in terms of ecosystems, biodiversity and varied expertise in the area. A list of over 200 local products has been identified in the framework of regional studies identifying local products.
To ensure the potential of these products, the Ministry of Agriculture has developed a Local Products Development Strategy that aims to:
- Reevaluate product marketing by improving products, packaging, pricing, promotion and labeling;
- Find the access routes to markets by creating a communication channel between producers and distributors targeting the domestic and foreign markets.
This strategy focuses on five priority action drivers at different levels of the value chain:
- Develop and enhance local product groups and develop partnership aggregation;
- Create regional logistics platforms near the producers;
- Improve market access for modern retailing both nationally and internationally;
- Support for labelling efforts by ensuring branding recognition and their readability by consumers;
- Create institutional campaigns to establish the reputation of local products among the general public.
Capacity building program for local producer groups:
This program provides support and guidance to producer groups in the areas of governance, organization, promotion, marketing and financing.
The first improvement program involved a batch of 203 local producer cooperatives and helped to develop customized business plans. As part of this program, new packaging designs and communication tools (brochure, business cards, and website, etc.) have been designed for the groups and with the objective of ensuring a better presentation of their products while respecting the current labelling regulations. To broaden the capacity building program to other groups, a second program was launched for a new batch of 144 cooperatives representing 20 producer value chains covering the various regions of the Kingdom.
Implementation program for logistical and commercial platforms (PLC)
This program aims to bring together the supply and flow of local products. Thus, these platforms for local products will help to improve related logistics service quality, reduce the logistical costs, deliver local products to national and international distribution centers in the best possible conditions, and preserve the organoleptic and sanitary quality of these products.
Support program for access to retail distribution channels:
This support program to access mid to large supermarkets enabled the referencing of over 100 cooperatives of regional products representing over 200 products. This is used both for food products (argan oil, olive oil, honey, couscous, dates, capers, aromatic and medicinal plants, etc.) and cosmetics (argan derivative products, prickly pear oil and derivatives, floral waters, essential oils, etc.).
In order to boost sales of local products and build awareness of these products and branding of official Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) logos, communication and promotion activities are organized at the sales sites, with large media campaign (TV, radio, press, billboards).
Participation in national events is a priority for developing the sales and marketing of local products in order to raise more awareness about these products among national consumers and also to create more opportunities for producer groups to market their products without going through intermediaries.
Participation of producer groups in international fairs:
To promote local products on a global scale, the Ministry of Agriculture organized the participation of local producer groups at several international events such as:
- Green Week Berlin in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
- Paris International Agricultural Show (SIA) in 2013, 2014, 2015,2016, 2017 and 2018
- Global Food Marketplace Middle East (SIAL) in Abu Dhabi 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017
- Foodex Japan in Tokyo in 2015,
- World Food Moscow in 2014 , 2015, 2016 and 2017
- Agriculture and Animal Resources Fair of Abidjan, Ivory Coast (SARA) in 2015 and 2017
To this end, several partnerships were concluded between the exhibitors and importers interested in Moroccan local products as part of B-to-B meetings organized during the event.
Moroccan competition of local products
The organization of the first edition of the Moroccan local products competition was part of PAMPAT project (Market access facilitation for selected value chains of typical food products in Morocco), funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
During this competition, over 350 local products from all regions in Morocco participated in the competition. The expert jury was comprised of producers and consumers and awarded medals to the best products. A total of 109 products were awarded as follows:
- Honey category: 24 gold, 12 silver and 12 bronze medals;
- Edible oils category: 10 gold, 4 silver and 5 bronze medals;
- Animal products category: 2 gold and 2 silver medals;
- Fruit and vegetable products category: 5 gold, 2 silver and 13 bronze medals;
- Grain products category: 7 gold, 5 silver and 6 bronze medals.
Of the 48 products with gold medals, six excellence awards were granted for the following products: argan oil from the Marrakech Tensift Al Haouz region, amlou from the Souss Massa Draa region, Keskes Khoumassi from the Oued Ed-Dahab Lagouira region, olive oil from the Tadla Azilal region, and citrus honey and gouda goat cheese from the Tangier Tetouan region.
Also, ADA organized for producers who had received the award for excellence at the 2014 Moroccan contest, to participate at the 6th edition of the Swiss competition for local products held in September 2015. Thus, 4 local products from Morocco were present at the event, namely: argan, olive oil, couscous Khoumassi and amlou.