06 Oct

Morocco seeks foreign investment in agriculture

Morocco is eager to lure more foreign investors from Europe and the Arab Gulf region to help it modernise its agriculture as it prepares to lease more state-owned farms, a farm official said on Friday.

The government leased a first batch of state-owned farms to 173 investors, some of them foreigners, last year. The first offer of 45,000 hectares attracted 4.7 billion Moroccan dirhams ($539.8 million).

A banking consortium, including two subsidiaries of French Societe Generale, has set up the Olea investment fund to grow olive trees and produce high quality olive oil in Morocco.

The fund plans to invest 1.8 billion dirhams to create 10 olive farming units of 1,000 hectares each to produce 30,000 tonnes of high quality extra-virgin olive oil per year.

“We expect to wrap up the lease operation of the second tranche by September next year. The investment in these farms will total 5 billion dirhams,” Hajjaji said. That would come on the top of state revenue from the lease licences for 40 years.

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