The Kingdom of Morocco is an interesting place, its tourism potential, natural resources and proximity to Europe give the country a strategic position for economic progress.
Agriculture also plays a major role in the country’s economy; with continuous and sustainable growth in the sector making reasonable contributions to Morocco’s GDP.
“The agri-food sector is a major driver of economic and social development for Moroccan citizens. It amounts to 21 per cent of the GDP and accounts for nearly 39 per cent of employment, even more so in rural areas. Agriculture is at the heart of Morocco’s economic and social ambitions…” Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb and Malta confirmed according to information from the Bank’s website.
Morocco still imports grains to meet its food needs, but over the years, the agriculture sector has been modernized and diversified along value chains with a target to achieve self-sufficiency in food production and export. Apart from crop farming, potential in fishery and livestock farming as well as in forestry are also exploited to create jobs.
Having always prioritized food security and developed models to achieve it, the country has invested in capitalized and export-focused farms dealing in fruits and vegetables as it continues to emphasize the importance of developing investment in the transfer of technology to increase production in the agricultural sector.
The Kingdom of Morocco has the Generation Green 2020- 2030 strategy which seeks to boost food security. Information obtained from the country’s website says the strategy is a modification of an earlier initiative which also had its successes.
“This strategy represents a new vision within the framework of the continuity of the “Green Morocco Plan” which was based mainly on the development of product supply chains, the mechanization of the agricultural sector, and the organization of professionals. It also focused on increasing the coverage rates for food needs, increasing gross agricultural production, supporting agricultural exports, as well as increasing the volume of investments.
“The “Generation Green” plan focus is on rehabilitating the farmer and raising the social and economic status. In this way, the “Generation Green” strategy is based on two pillars: The first is to consider the human element as a priority in any development related to the agricultural sector, while the second relates to continuing the dynamism of agricultural development and focusing on its modernization.
“As well as creating a new generation of “young entrepreneurs” in the agricultural sector. In addition to the establishment of modern means aimed at the creation of wealth, the diversification of employment opportunities and the enhancement of rural Morocco,” the website stressed.
Again, the Kingdom of Morocco has the Country Strategic Opportunities Programme 2022-2027 which is supported by the International Fund for Agriculture Development, IFAD to bring about a sustainable increase in the incomes and food security of the rural population, particularly women and young people, and to boost resilience to climate change in mountainous areas of the country.
The IFAD’s website explained, “The overall objective is divided into three strategic objectives: To promote equitable, inclusive development and build up the social and human capital of the rural population in vulnerable regions. Boost the competitiveness and diversify the production of solidarity farming and livestock systems on a sustainable and equitable basis in mountainous areas and strengthen their access, on an equitable footing, to markets and financial services. Promote the environmental sustainability of rural populations’ livelihoods and their resilience to climate change.”
The World Bank also recently approved a US$350 million loan to support the Government of Morocco in the launching of its Blue Economy programme to improve job creation and economic growth, as well as the sustainability and resilience of natural resources and food security. The Blue Economy Programme for Results aims to develop institutional frameworks, improve the integrated management of natural resources, and strengthen selected sectors for a climate-resilient blue economy in targeted areas.
Hentschel quoted earlier noted, “Bordered by the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Morocco’s potential for developing its Blue Economy is strong. Its coastal areas already contribute to more than 50% of GDP and jobs in the country, and there is more untapped potential in both existing and emerging blue sectors like aquaculture, seaweed farming, and renewable marine energy. As laid out in the diagnosis of the New Development Model, Morocco has the opportunity to develop coastal clusters that attract investments and create jobs while ensuring sustainability.”
Morocco’s investment in the Blue Economy is in line with the African Union Agenda 2063; H.E. Josefa Sacko, the AU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment, ARBE encourages that this aspect of the economy should not be overlooked.
AU says, “Africa places a premium on the potential value of the blue economy in its growth and development trajectory. For this reason, various policy and implementation efforts have been made to boost the blue economy, not only in countries with coastlines but for all African countries.”
ARBE has the mandate to among other things, promote policies and develop strategies and programmes to ensure food security and nutrition; help member states to achieve sustainable growth and improved livelihoods through sound environmental and natural resources management; promote rural community initiatives and transfer of technologies and coordinate efforts to eradicate poverty.
However, a Moroccan government employee Rahim added, “There are other strategies to ensure food security. We have the reforestation programme under the Forests of Morocco 2020-2030, the strategies for fisheries, economic empowerment of women, the National Human Development Initiative that promotes inclusiveness and accountability and others; they are interrelated and geared towards achieving food security.”
The African Union agrees that there is a need for sustainable food systems to meet the food needs of its Africans hence the continental body advocates the increased budgetary provision for agriculture through the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme, CAADP and improved intra-Africa trade relations using the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA.
The CAADP is an Agenda 2063 continental initiative that aims to help African countries to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty by raising economic growth through agriculture-led development. African governments agreed to allocate at least 10% of national budgets to agriculture and rural development and to achieve an agricultural growth rate of at least 6% per annum.
Although the agreement has not been fulfilled by many of the countries, the Director, of the AUC Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa appealed for reconsideration so the countries could have better outcomes in the area of food security.
Speaking with the Agenda 2063 Pitch Zone Awardees via Zoom; he
maintained, “Agriculture is still a very important tool to take Africa out of poverty.”
AfCFTA seeks to provide broader and deeper economic integration across the continent and attract investments, boost trade, provide better jobs and reduce poverty, and increase shared prosperity in the continent.
It is believed that if the guidelines in the seven aspirations of the AU Agenda 2063 are followed, by 2063, African countries would bequeath a more prosperous and economically strong continent to Africans.
This article was developed with support from the African Union through the African Union Agenda 2063 Pitch Zone Awards, a partnership with the African Women in Media.