MOROCCO – Morocco and the European Union (EU) have signed a EUR 4 million collaboration agreement to enhance agricultural and forestry education in Morocco.

Known as “Ibtikar,” the agreement was signed in Meknes on Tuesday by Moroccan Minister of Agriculture Mohamed Sadiki and EU Ambassador Patricia Llombart Cussac.]

It aims to address challenges related to ecological transition by adapting educational curricula to sustainable agricultural and forestry practices.

The agreement spans three and a half years and targets key institutions in the Moroccan agricultural and forestry sectors.

These include the Hassan II Agronomic and Veterinary Institute (IAV), the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA), the National School of Agriculture of Meknes (ENAM), and the National Forestry Engineering School (ENFI).

The “Ibtikar” project aims to modernize educational programs to meet ecological transition imperatives and prepare professionals for sustainable production methods.

It also seeks to establish a collaborative research framework focused on ecological transition and climate change challenges.

Another goal is to promote entrepreneurship in sustainable production and consumption sectors through training and incubation initiatives.

In a statement to the country’s news agency, MAP, EU Ambassador Cussac highlighted the importance of preparing future generations to address challenges such as climate change, resource management, and green entrepreneurship.

Cussac emphasized the agreement’s role in helping Morocco build capacity in global climate adaptation efforts and train professionals to face these challenges effectively.

Minister Sadiki shared Cussac’s sentiments, expressing commitment to building a resilient agricultural sector capable of withstanding the impacts of climate change.

He noted that the Morocco-EU green partnership demonstrates a joint commitment to sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture.

The “Ibtikar” project is part of the broader “Al Ard Aa Khadraa” Program, funded by the EU with a total budget of EUR 115 million.

This program aligns with Morocco’s strategic initiatives, including “Generation Green” and “Forests of Morocco,” and is being implemented in four pilot agroforestry regions.

The agreement was signed during the 16th International Agriculture Show in Morocco (SIAM), which drew participation from nearly 70 countries and over 1,500 exhibitors.

Morocco’s efforts in sustainable agriculture extend beyond education and research. The country has also established leadership in fresh produce exports.

Morocco’s fruits and vegetables market is estimated to be worth USD 4.37 billion in 2024 and is expected to grow to USD 5.37 billion by 2029.

The country exports over 50 to 60 types of fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits and tomatoes dominate the fresh produce exports, followed by green beans, zucchini, berries, and pumpkins.

In 2021/22, Morocco’s fresh produce production reached a record 1.2 million tons, marking an 11% increase from the previous year and a one-third growth over the past decade. Production is mainly concentrated in the Gharb and Souss-Massa regions.

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