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Predrag Mihajlović, CEO of OTP Bank Serbia

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M. El Mahdi Arrifi, Director General of the Moroccan Agency for Agricultural Development (ADA)

The ADA aims to ensure the acceleration of the pace of investments in the agricultural sector, especially in terms of maximising the valuations of Moroccan agricultural products. In line with that, we will develop investment attraction kits to inform potential partners about the different investment opportunities offered in the Moroccan agricultural sector

M. El Mahdi Arrifi, Director General of the Moroccan Agency for Agricultural Development (ADA), promotes the Moroccan agricultural sector relentlessly, as one of those sectors that have strong potential for growth, diversification and the refinement of local products. At the same time, the ADA is responsible for securing sustainable development and making agriculture a sector that’s resilient to climate change.

The participation of your Agency in the Seminar “Doing Business with Morocco”, which took place in Belgrade last September, was highly appreciated and allowed participants to understand certain aspects of the Kingdom of Morocco’s strategy for agricultural development. Can you enlighten us regarding the strategy of your Agency in 2019, as well as the tangible actions you take to develop this sector?

– First of all, I would like to thank the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Serbia, which gave us the opportunity to present the agricultural development strategy “Plan Maroc Vert”, and to share with Serbian stakeholders and operators our experiences in the agricultural sector.

As you know, the ADA – which was created in 2009, as part of the overall institutional reforms of the Department of Agriculture – has the main mission of managing and following-up on the implementation of projects falling within the framework of the Green Morocco Plan “Maroc Vert” (PMV). This agency is also responsible for promoting and attracting investment in the agricultural sector. Moreover, it also supports programmes related to the development of the marketing of local Moroccan products. The ADA also deals with aspects related to sustainable development and climate change, as the national entity accredited by the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund.

Thus, the ADA’s action programme for 2019 is focused on the continuation and consolidation of various programmes and projects launched under the Green Morocco Plan.

As such, the ADA will ensure the acceleration of the pace of investments in the agricultural sector, especially in terms of maximising the evaluation of agricultural products and doing so within the framework of the contract programme on development of the agro-industry (IAA), particularly in terms of attracting investments for the development of exports of packaged olive oil.

The ADA will also continue to develop and update investment attraction kits for the main value-added sectors, in order to highlight the different investment opportunities offered in the Moroccan agricultural sector for the benefit of investors.

Furthermore, the ADA will undertake several actions aiming to boost agricultural aggregation projects through the revision of approval and support procedures for these projects, on the one hand, and, on the other, through the strengthening of awareness-raising actions among the concerned operators.

With regard to solidarity farming projects (Pillar II Projects (PMV)), the ADA will continue with the launching of nearly 100 new projects, while accelerating the pace of the implementation of ongoing projects. It will also ensure the sustainability of implemented projects.

The ADA’s action programme for 2019 is focused on the continuation and consolidation of various programmes and projects launched under the Green Morocco Plan

Regarding the development of marketing for local products, the ADA will continue programmes launched to upgrade groups of producers of local products, accelerate and facilitate the access of these products to supermarkets and other modern distribution channels, as well as strengthening promotional activities through participation in national and international events.

In terms of project management, the ADA will reinforce activities undertaken in terms of monitoring and evaluating the portfolio of the PMV’s Pillar I and Pillar II projects.

Finally, the ADA will continue its efforts to mobilise funding from donors for the implementation of agricultural development projects based on solidarity-based agriculture and the strengthening of agriculture’s resilience to climate change. It is worth noting that these efforts were crowned by the ADA’s 2012 accreditation by the Adaptation Fund (FA), and in 2016 by the Green Climate Fund (GCF), enabling it to directly access the resources of these climate funders.

It should be noted that Serbia is an agricultural country and has proven experience and expertise in this field, particularly in the areas of Smart Agriculture and Agricultural Research. The country organises the biggest agricultural fair in the Balkan region – the International Agricultural Fair of Novi Sad. As a member of the Alliance of Central European Fairs (CEFA) and the European Federation of Agricultural Exhibition Organisers (EURASCO), this event is renowned for its number of participants and visitors, which grow each year, allowing us to bring together experts and agricultural stakeholders from around the world. Do you plan to participate in this Fair in the future, and what contribution can you provide to developing cooperation between Morocco and Serbia?

– Indeed, the Novi Sad International Fair is one of the most important agricultural events in the agricultural sector and the agri-food industry in the Balkan region.

With an awareness of the importance of this event, the ADA has agreed to participate in the 86th edition in 2019, through the staging of a conference on investment opportunities in the agricultural sector in the country through the Green Morocco Plan, and to inform Moroccan operators in the field of agribusiness of the possibility of participating in this large-scale event.

This first participation will allow the ADA to closely explore possible room for cooperation in promoting investment in the agricultural sector between Morocco and Serbia through contacts with major players in the Serbian agricultural sector.

In light of this participation, the ADA may consider the strengthening of its presence at this fair in the future.

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