Europe and Morocco Sign Deal to Develop Sustainable Agricultural

The €115 million program is meant to modernize Morocco’s agricultural sector, promote reforestation and protect biodiversity.

Near Ouarzazate, Morocco
Nov. 10, 2022
By Paolo DeAndreis
Near Ouarzazate, Morocco

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The European Union and Morocco have signed a deal worth €115 mil­lion to sup­port the North African country’s agri­cul­tural and forestry sec­tors.

Known as the Terra Verte (green earth) pro­gram, the funds will be used to invest in food pro­duc­tion, agri­cul­tural devel­op­ment and bio­di­ver­sity pro­tec­tion.

The sup­port to Moroccan agri­cul­ture and forestry pro­vided through this pro­gram shows that the E.U. is on Morocco’s side in the fight against the cli­mate and bio­di­ver­sity crises.- Frans Timmermans, exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent, European Green Deal

At first, the ini­tia­tive will be rolled out in four pilot regions, with plans to expand depend­ing on its suc­cess.

The European Commission said the pro­jec­t’s pri­mary goals are to develop a sus­tain­able agri­cul­tural and forestry value chain in the coun­try and equi­tably cre­ate jobs.

See Also:Morrocan Olive Oil Exports Rise After Last Year’s Bumper Crop

Morocco has just expe­ri­enced the worst drought in 40 years, threat­en­ing water and agri­cul­tural sys­tems,” said Olivér Várhelyi, the European com­mis­sioner for neigh­bor­hood and enlarge­ment. In addi­tion, the war in Ukraine is exac­er­bat­ing ten­sions in the food mar­kets, includ­ing in the E.U.‘s south­ern neigh­bor­hood region.”

The funds are expected to sup­ple­ment two Moroccan devel­op­ment strate­gies: Generation Green and Moroccan Forests.

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The gov­ern­ment said Generation Green is meant to invest in rural com­mu­ni­ties and pro­vide new oppor­tu­ni­ties, espe­cially for young farm­ers, through mech­a­niza­tion and mod­ern­iza­tion of exist­ing infra­struc­ture.

Mohammed Sadiki, the country’s agri­cul­tural and forestry min­is­ter, told local media in a March 2022 inter­view that Generation Green pro­motes food secu­rity and food sov­er­eignty while adding value to agri­cul­tural prod­ucts.

One of the pro­jec­t’s goals is to expand agri­cul­tural cul­ti­va­tion areas, includ­ing olives. According to the International Olive Council, Morocco pro­duced 200,000 tons of olive oil and 130,000 tons of table olives in the 2021/22 crop year.

Since records began in 1990, olive yields in the coun­try have increased steadily. As of last year, Morocco was the world’s sixth-largest olive oil and table olive pro­ducer.

Meanwhile, the Moroccan Forests strat­egy will plant 600,000 trees, com­pris­ing more than eight dif­fer­ent species, by 2030. The gov­ern­ment added that the effort would also incen­tivize local pop­u­la­tions to prac­tice sus­tain­able forestry.

Frans Timmermans, exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent for the European Green Deal, said the Terra Verte pro­gram rec­og­nized the impor­tance of Morocco to the green tran­si­tion.”

The sup­port to Moroccan agri­cul­ture and forestry pro­vided through this pro­gram shows that the E.U. is on Morocco’s side in the fight against the cli­mate and bio­di­ver­sity crises,” he added.



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