Organic Production: The Emerging Structure of the Sector
The trend of consuming organic products has gained significant momentum in Morocco. Consumer habits continue to evolve, giving rise to new niches, with organics being a prominent one. Organic products are not only viewed as a “profitable” market for producers but also as a “healthy” choice for consumers. While this segment is gradually organizing itself into a fully-fledged sector, it has yet to find its rhythm. A substantial effort is underway in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, and Water and Forests to provide this sector with an appropriate legislative and regulatory framework. The current focus is on assessing the state of the organic sector at the national level and dispelling misconceptions, particularly regarding the misuse of the “organic” label.
On this note, the Moroccan Interprofessional Federation of the Organic Sector (FIMABIO), the official representative of the sector in accordance with Law 03-12, held its inaugural seminar on Thursday, June 15, 2017, in Casablanca. The primary objective of this event was to highlight the development of the organic sector and elucidate its significance.
“We are currently witnessing an abusive use of the ‘organic’ label. Consumers often confuse terms like ‘organic,’ ‘beldi,’ ‘pure,’ and ‘natural.’ We are now compelled to defend the reputation of organic products by intensifying our communication efforts, urging consumers to remain vigilant and demand official and standardized labeling,” explained Jalal Charaf, Vice-President of Communication at FIMABIO. The logo and labeling serve as guarantees for consumers. In Morocco, certification is currently provided by foreign organizations, pending the enforcement of Law 39-12 regarding organic production in Morocco. This legislation will govern production rules, preparation processes, accreditation conditions for certification control bodies, as well as the actions to be taken in case of violations. Heavy penalties are prescribed in this regard. “An operator who places the ‘organic’ logo on a product that is not certified as organic or advertises a non-organic product may be subject to fines of up to 50,000 dirhams. Similarly, an organization not approved by the state that certifies organic products could face fines of up to 100,000 dirhams,” as noted by FIMABIO.
It is worth recalling that Law 39-12 was published in the Official Gazette in 2013 and will only come into effect after the publication of all implementing texts. Two implementing decrees and four orders were published between 2014 and 2015, with four others currently in the process of being issued. The organic sector has a longstanding presence in Morocco. In 2011, a contract program worth 1.12 billion dirhams was ratified between the state and representatives of the sector, specifically the Moroccan Association of the Organic Sector (Amabio), which at the time brought together all stakeholders in the organic industry. The objectives of the contract program include planting 40,000 hectares by 2020, up from 4,000 hectares at the time of the agreement. Production is also expected to reach 400,000 tonnes, compared to 40,000 tonnes in 2011. Exports are projected to increase from 10,000 tonnes in 2011 to 60,000 tonnes by 2020. In terms of foreign currency earnings, it is estimated to reach 8 billion dirhams by 2020, compared to 100 million dirhams at the time of the contract program ratification. In employment terms, producers are expected to create 9 million workdays, up from 1 million in 2011.