MOROCCO – Moroccan federations in the agrifood and packaging sectors have agreed to cut the country’s reliance on imports and create 7,500 direct job opportunities by 2060.

The agreements aim to enhance local integration by creating synergies and partnerships based on mutual benefit between the agrifood industry and other related industrial sectors.

Impacted by the economic crisis and surge in the prices of raw materials, the sectors have made a decision to pull together in an effort to reduce the US$ 800.42 million (MAD 8 billion) burden of imports.

Today there is an international crisis [that makes us] lose raw materials,” said Mounir Bari, President of Morocco’s Federation of Forest Industries, Graphic Arts and Packaging (FIFAGE), adding that these materials are becoming “very expensive.”

The surge in prices has prompted Moroccan agrifood federations, in partnership with the packaging industry, to increase the sector’s integration rate to 39%, up from the current rate of 26%, Bari added.

During the signing ceremony, Ryad Mezzour, Morocco’s Minister of Industry and Commerce, spoke emphatically about the value of the agrifood sector for the Moroccan economy.

The food industry sector is of strategic importance in the national industrial fabric, given its role in food security and sovereignty, [as well as] a catalyst for the development of other industrial sectors,” said Mezzour.

The connection between agrifood industry and other industrial sectors was reflected in the federations that signed the 4 local sourcing conventions.

The list included FIFAGE, National Federation of Agribusiness (FENAGRI), the National Federation of Fisheries Products Processing and Valorization Industries (FENIP), the Moroccan Plastics Federation (FMP), and the Federation of Metallurgical, Mechanical and Electromechanical Industries (FIMME).

With packaging being an integrated part of agrifood production and distribution, Morocco has been working on producing locally plastic, metallic, and paperboard packages.

In May, the UAE-based packing manufacturer Hotpack Global announced its plans to capture 80% of Morocco’s packaging sector in partnership with Retail Holding, the biggest retail firm in the North African country.

Two months prior, one of the world’s biggest producers of renewable fiber-based packaging, International Paper (IP), launched a US$10 million investment program to expand its production facilities in Morocco.

IP operates factories in Kenitra and Tangier, with the Kenitra plant alone producing  90,000 tonnes of cardboard containers per year.

These foreign investments in the Moroccan packaging sector allow the country to meet its local needs even in case of trade disruptions due to pandemics or conflicts.

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