New World Bank Support to Unleash Agri-food Sector’s Potential in Morocco
Washington: With the increased productivity of Morocco’s agriculture sector over the past few years, driven by ambitious reforms under the Agriculture Plan, Plan Maroc Vert (PMV), the country aims to drive sector growth by promoting agri-business competitiveness and increasing agri-food market efficiency. To support this effort, the World Bank Board of Executive directors approved today a US$200 million loan to accelerate the transformation of the agri-business sector towards greater value addition and market inclusion of small and medium producers and enterprises. Moving away from fragmented production to more integrated value chains will be among the core objectives of the program.
Strengthening Agri-food Value Chains, a comprehensive support program, will seek to promote an enabling environment for agri-food sector growth and to remove barriers to the development of targeted value chains. To tackle some of the sector’s persistent challenges ranging from food safety and quality to limited integration of agri-food markets, the program will support institutional reforms and increased investments to ensure greater value-addition, improved market efficiency, and higher competitiveness.
“Building on previous Bank interventions to foster effective sector reforms as part of the PMV, the Bank is ramping up its engagement to support the government’s efforts to develop modern value chains that can be scaled up with greater impact for the rural populations,” says Marie Françoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Maghreb Country Director. “With the sector fabric dominated by small enterprises and cooperatives, the program intends to better include small and medium producers in a demanding and fast growing agri-food market.”
The program builds on favorable market conditions and the achievements of the PMV to boost agri-business performance. Through structural and value-chain specific measures, the program will strengthen the capacity of two intra-branch organizations (inter-professions), covering citrus and olives. It will promote private sector investments in food processing units for these two high-potential value chains, including packing stations, cold storage, and olive oil pressing units. To enhance agri-food market efficiency, the program will also support the modernization of the management model of new wholesale markets, and improve access to information on market prices through dedicated technological tools. The program will include the piloting of new schemes to connect small producers with large buyers as a means to enhancing the participation of small and medium producers in the agri-food value chains.
“The program is aligned with the strategy of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries Rural Development, Water and Forests, and the World Bank’s previous support to the PMV to bring about the needed transformation to upgrade agri-food sector performance. By supporting market integration from production to commercialization, the program seeks to foster market efficiency along the value chains in order to improve their competitiveness and achieve the sector’s high potential for jobs and value creation,” said Hind Kadiri, World Bank Senior Private Sector Development Specialist, and co-Task Team Leader for the program.
With targeted interventions, the project will also seek to promote food safety and certification systems to respond to high quality standards in both domestic and international markets. Central to the sector’s performance is the need for greater innovation; the program will improve small and medium producers’ capacities for product innovation and value-addition through the establishment of two agribusiness innovation centers. The latter will offer a variety of business and technical services to support local transformation of raw products, as well as a competitive grant mechanism in support of innovative agri-food projects.