These are the challenges facing the production of oils in Morocco to reduce imports from abroad as much as possible

Morocco aspires, through the “green generation” agricultural strategy, to increase the area planted with oilseeds to 80,000 hectares in 2030; But this ambition requires the establishment of a motivational framework to encourage farmers, as is the case with the Sugar Plants series.

Reaching this figure will guarantee Morocco’s oilseed needs at about 12 percent; However, the players in this sector say that there is the possibility of increasing production to more than 100,000 hectares, provided that farmers maintain the rate of increase in yield per hectare.

According to Mohamed Hosseini, Deputy General Manager of Lesieur Crystal, the low yield of oilseeds is a problem that adds to the double cultivated area, where the yield does not exceed 10 cents per hectare; But it can go up to about 20 quintals if the cultivation is done properly.

In a press interview organized by the company’s industrial unit in Ain Harouda, in the Casablanca region, Hosseini said that the rehabilitation of the oil plant production chain would allow farmers to increase their income and reduce dependence on Morocco. of foreign imports of raw materials.

According to official data, Morocco knows a structural lack in the production of oilseeds, since its needs for oilseed raw materials are imported almost entirely, with a rate of 98.7 percent from the international market, mainly in the form of crude vegetable oils. , while locally produced oilseeds contribute 1.3 percent only.

Morocco depends on three sources to supply its needs for crude vegetable oils; It is the European Union, which is the largest supplier of crude vegetable oils to Morocco with 54 percent, followed by Argentina with 34 percent and the United States of America with almost 7 percent.

In the eighties of the last century, Morocco had an area of ​​more than 150 thousand hectares planted annually with oil plants, especially sunflowers, especially in the west and north; However, this area decreased significantly to reach only 17 thousand hectares during the year 2021.

Morocco has an area of ​​600,000 hectares that can be used to increase the area of ​​oilseeds with sunflower seeds and rapeseed. But this requires first encouraging farmers to use this crop, which does not drain much water, by subsidizing used seeds and ensuring a guaranteed price for the sale of the crop.

Ibrahim Laroui, General Manager of Lesieur Crystal, highlighted in the press interview that the wave of price increases at the international level could have been avoided if the chain of sugar mills had been developed; This requires an appropriate motivational framework.

Laroui added that the Moroccan farmer will not accept any crop if he is not sure of selling his crop and added: “If we have a stimulating framework for this crop and an agricultural season with good rainfall, the farmer will make a profit from growing oilseed crops.” .

Unlike sugar, oil prices do not have the support of the Compensation Fund, after their prices were liberalized since 2001.

Laroui recorded that “Morocco’s tendency to strengthen its food sovereignty within the framework of a strategy that includes table oil requires rethinking support for the production chain through the implementation of a program”, expressing optimism about the possibility of increasing production Moroccan oil plants more than what is scheduled in the “green generation” strategy, where he said the ambition is to reach 20 percent of national needs through local production.

Mohamed Al-Baraka, secretary general of Lesieur Crystal, said, during the press conference, that the talks with the government are focused on the need to prioritize the cultivation of oilseeds by signing a contract program similar to the one made with the sugar. and dairy farming, not to mention the tendency to irrigate a significant percentage of the cultivated area to avoid being affected by the dry seasons.

Lesieur Crystal, together with the four actors in this sector, seeks to persuade the state to sign a new program contract for this chain in a way that guarantees the provision of seeds, inputs and fertilizers to farmers, not to mention that farmers follow the swing. with the demand for this agriculture through insurance and facilitating access to credit.

The actors of the oil industry in Morocco aspire to reach the level of development of the sugar production chain, since the Cosumar Group acts as an aggregator of the chain to support farmers at a financial, technical and social level.

Farmers involved with the “COSUMAR” group benefit from financial support and technical supervision to obtain the best yields; Not to mention the guarantee of transportation of the agricultural harvest to the processing plants, guaranteeing the purchase of the product, in addition to the insurance against climatic adversities.