Agrifood, a sector that still presents significant investment opportunities

Agrifood, a sector that still presents significant investment opportunities

The development of food sovereignty in Morocco goes through a better level of integration in the food industry value chain. This is the idea defended by Hamid Felloun, director general of the National Federation of Agrifood (FENAGRI), met by Médias24 on the sidelines of the Agadir stage of the Regional Investments, the event organized by the Banque Populaire , on June 8th.

For him, it is the economic situation linked to the health crisis that has highlighted the importance of this industry and the improvement of its competitiveness. A new orientation which is intimately linked to the substitution of imports by local production.

A sector in search of more integration

For the director general of FENAGRI, the agri-food industry remains below the levels of integration of other industries such as the automobile and aeronautics. The sector has a import substitution potential equivalent to 10 billion dirhams.

“If we achieve more integration, we will lower costs and we will gain in competitiveness, it is very important. »

It identifies the lack of integration in horizontal activities such as packaging, logistics, but also the integration between upstream agriculture and industry. He deplores the fact that Morocco is still unable to attract significant investment in packaging. The reason is that the national market does not provide sufficient volume for such investments.

Morocco must therefore, according to Hamid Felloun, better promote free trade agreements to attract investment in packaging for the food industry.

He also cites as an example the logistics which did not have operators dedicated to the agri-food sector, before the recent arrival of a subsidiary of a French group in Mohammédia. “Each group or company has its own logistics, whereas it is a separate business, which would benefit from being outsourced. »

The program contract has been extended to 2023

Moreover, Hamid Felloun is full of praise for the 2017-2021 program contract which, according to him, was able to create 83,000 jobs and which has been extended until 2023 to continue the same investment dynamic.

This program contract is a variation of two government strategies, that of the Green Morocco Plan and those of the Industrial Acceleration Plan, by involving two major funds, namely the Agricultural Development Fund (FDA) and the Industrial Development Fund and investments (FDII).

Thanks to this program contract, the agro-industrial sectors are now experiencing real momentum in terms of investmentaccording to Youssef Fadil, director of agro-food industries at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, also present at the Regional Investments in Agadir.

“With the levers that we have put in place, there are operators who have already understood the challenges of the sector and who have started to seize these opportunities. There are many investment projects that have been launched despite the crisis, despite the pandemic, despite this disruption in terms of supply, especially of raw materials; there is a lot of investment and commitment from the operators,” he stressed.

Agri-food represents 25% of the project bank

According to Youssef Fadil, the sector still has many interesting opportunities because “even with this dynamic, we can do better”. There is therefore still plenty of room for development.

As an example, he cites activities such as frozen products, ready-to-use raw products, vacuum-packed raw products, dehydrated products, ready meals, organic food products, so-called health food (gluten-free, natural food supplements, infant food, …), etc.

The development of these new niches is justified by the changing eating habits of consumers, both nationally and internationally. Morocco, thanks to its culinary heritage and the raw materials available in quantity and quality, can meet this challenge according to Youssef Fadil, provided that it includes innovation, research and development, and therefore investment. and risk taking.

“We are alongside investors to support them in these new sectors and niches which should constitute future growth drivers for the Moroccan agri-food sector”, he underlined.

Furthermore, he clarified that the “war room” in charge of this bank of projects, renamed “sovereignty task force”, has identified 1,071 projects in all sectors, representing an overall investment of 46 billion dirhams, which should create 100,000 direct jobs and 150,000 indirect jobs. The food industry represents 25% of the total of these projects.

A sector that plays a strategic role in the Moroccan economy

The food industry brings together more than 2,000 companieswhich employ 152,000 people, according to CNSS figures for 2020. These companies generate a turnover of around 160 billion dirhams, including an export turnover of more than 36 billion dirhams, and create an added value of nearly 39 billion dirhams.

This sector therefore plays a strategic role in the Moroccan economy, in terms of the country’s food security, but also the enhancement and regulation of agricultural and fisheries production, according to Youssef Fadil. It is also one of the leading industrial sectors providing employment in the country.

Between 2014 and 2021, Moroccan exports of agri-food products increased by 40%. Despite this progress, they represent only 15% of all the Kingdom’s industrial exports.

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