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Switzerland wants to develop organic farming in Morocco

“By facilitating access to the international market for agri-food and local products, including argan oil, rosemary and prickly pears, by developing value chains with a view to growth, and by supporting professional associations active in agriculture, Switzerland supports the valorization of agricultural products and the exchange of experience throughout the Moroccan territory,” said Massimo Baggi, ambassador of Switzerland in Rabat.

In a similar vein, Sami Zerelli, president of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Morocco, said that almost 38% of agricultural land in Switzerland is already saturated. In addition, Switzerland being a tourist country, the farmer can not cultivate against the constraint of preservation of the landscape. Added to this is the high cost of agricultural labor. The country, world leader in innovation, invests in this field more than 3.8% of its GDP.

It is for this reason that efforts have been concentrated on a particular population of farmers and have thus been selected those with holdings of less than five hectares and which represent 70% of farmers in Morocco. The latter are limited to conventional agriculture and find themselves in poor productivity and therefore profitability.

Today, the reflection is to accompany them to enable them to increase their income. Thus, “encourage them to go out of conventional agriculture and direct them to a higher value agriculture like bio,” says Zerelli.

A program has been established with five Swiss companies to “create a kind of ecosystem that starts with the help of conversion to organic”. Already, the Swiss company “Elephant Green”, which had chosen to launch its organic program from Morocco, has started a training cycle of young farmers. Another example is the company “Pinalpina”, a specialist in fresh produce, whose experience in marketing fresh produce is well established.

Other companies are on the list. It is SGS, world leader in certification and control for support in audit operations. “Our goal is also to be able to aggregate small farmers and, perhaps, hook them up to large sizing and packing stations. This requires a traceability service and a labeling system. Task that will be ensured by Sicpa”, is it indicated.

For its part, Pinalpina will open an e-commerce platform and will be able to give all the Moroccan producers a chance to be referenced by its customers. The goal is to start going to markets where there are real markets for organic products in Morocco.

All this has resulted in the signing of an agreement with the “Club des entrepreneurs du bio” (C-bio). The aim is to encourage its members to get closer to the young entrepreneurs operating in this field, to encourage them to organize themselves into cooperatives, to find them a calibration and packaging station and, consequently, to give them the same opportunities as large producers.

“We hope that Siam will be the start of a great adventure and not an end in itself and that the terms of these conventions be translated concretely,” adds Sami Zerelli. From there, a process will be set up and a communication program will be launched to approach young farmers and explain the added value of the operations that will be launched.

In Siam, some 120 young students were invited by Nestlé to an information and training day during which human resources managers explained to them and showed, among other things, how to create a CV and conduct an interview. This allowed them at the same time to apply to these officials and to be recognized HRD present.

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