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Agadir Signs a Partnership to Boost the Horticultural Sector

A tripartite memorandum of understanding was sealed between Karim Achengli, president of the Souss-Massa Regional Council, Farid Lekjâa, director of the Agadir Horticultural Complex and Hassan Al Jaber, boss of the Qatari group NAAAS Holding. This partnership concerns the component of the International Horticultural Hub of Agadir, in particular the experimental farm covering 23 ha.




In the wake of the activation process of the Regional Development Company (SDR) Agricultural Innovation, after its validation at the end of the extraordinary session of November 2023 of the Souss-Massa Regional Council, a new stone was brought to the building of this structure. As a reminder, this was created jointly by the Agadir Horticultural Complex (CHA), under the Hassan II Agronomic and Veterinary Institute (IAV) and the Souss-Massa Regional Council.

During a ceremony, held at the end of the week, in Aït Melloul, Agadir, the vision of the SDR and the CHA by 2035 was presented, in particular the strategic partnerships. This vision includes projects falling within the prerogatives of the State, the attributions of the SDR and cooperation projects with the private sector. On this last point, a tripartite memorandum of understanding was sealed between Karim Achengli, president of the Souss-Massa Regional Council, Farid Lekjâa, director of the CHA and Hassan Al Jaber, boss of the Qatari group NAAAS Holding.

This partnership concerns the component of the Agadir International Horticultural Hub, notably the experimental farm covering 23 hectares in the form of production glass greenhouses. This project is part of the Agricultural Innovation action plan which also includes the analysis laboratory, research and development with the center of excellence based on a consortium for research, development and innovation (RDI) in the agricultural field with agricultural professionals. Also worth mentioning is the incubator for agribusiness leaders and an eco-museum which will be built over an area of ​​20 ha in the argan tree biological reserve.

Horticultural sector in Agadir: Two production units for tomatoes and red fruits

Cooperation with the Qatari holding company will concern the aspect linked to agricultural production, in addition to the role assigned to the SDR, in this case the launch of the tomato production unit on 10 ha and another blueberry production unit on 8 ha. In addition to the production players (Agricultural Innovation and NAAAS Holding), the marketing players, recommended as part of this project, are the Dutch Harvset House for tomatoes and the American Driscoll’s for red fruits. Preliminary studies for this project, which will be led by Agricultural Innovation, have already been carried out.

As for the second component of the International Horticultural Hub, it is provided by the training center on two hectares, in the form of a glass greenhouse, which will provide academic training through work-study and certification with the strengthening of the capacities of the SDR. Agricultural Innovation, also involved in the research and development aspect, also has a center of excellence.

This concerns agro-development projects, in particular the development of varieties resistant to viruses and climate variations in addition to the zero residue project and water engineering, with the École normale supérieure de Lyon.

Note that USAID is one of the recommended partners for the development of this R&D component and the center of excellence.

20 startups incubated each year in Agadir

This R&D component is closely linked to another component of this project, in this case the incubator which aims to support 100 startups by 2029. In detail, this structure will aim for 20 startups each year in order to better support project leaders over a period of five years.

The first group of startups will be welcomed in September 2024 with a first startup specializing in the production of virus-resistant seeds and varieties, notably Tobrev, and capable of resisting the cold while adapting to climate change. The aim is to reduce dependence on seeds by capturing 20% ​​of imports which amount to around 76 million euros, mainly tomatoes.

This project will also be carried out with a Spanish partner. Furthermore, with a capacity of 500 beds, the CHA, which already accommodates 476 students, is in the process of increasing its reception capacity. The goal is to increase capacity to 1,200 beds in order to train 1,000 agricultural executives by the year 2034, through the school of engineers and technicians. New specialties will also be introduced (water engineering, horticulture and landscaping, in particular).

In this sense, three schools will be created in Agadir. These are the institutes of horticulture and water engineering as well as the landscape school. On this last point, a master’s degree is in the process of being accredited next September. It should be noted that the SDR Agricultural Innovation has capital of around 5 MDH. It was created by five shareholders including the Souss-Massa Regional Council which will hold the lion’s share of its round, i.e. 49,992 shares out of 50,000. The rest of the actions are shared with the Hassan II Agronomic and Veterinary Institute.

The Agadir Horticultural Complex (CHA) will have five actions while the other entities in the round table (Ministry of the Interior, Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services “CCIS-Souss-Massa” and Regional Agricultural Chamber Souss-Massa) hold one symbolic share each.


(Featured image by planet_fox via Pixabay)

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Helene Lindbergh is a published author with books about entrepreneurship and investing for dummies. An advocate for financial literacy, she is also a sought-after keynote speaker for female empowerment. Her special focus is on small, independent businesses who eventually achieve financial independence. Helene is currently working on two projects—a bio compilation of women braving the world of banking, finance, crypto, tech, and AI, as well as a paper on gendered contributions in the rapidly growing healthcare market, specifically medicinal cannabis.