The Business Year

El Mahdi Arrifi

MOROCCO - Agriculture

El Mahdi Arrifi

General Manager, Agency for Agricultural Development (ADA)

Bio

Appointed Director of ADA in 2017, El Mahdi Arrifi had a long career in the Ministry of Agriculture where he held several positions. He is a laureate of the Hassan II Agronomic and Veterinary Institute of Rabat (IAV) from which he obtained his state engineer diploma in rural engineering. He began his career as head of department in the engineering administration rural at the Ministry of Agriculture from 1996-2009. In 2009, he was appointed head of the PPP division in the Directorate of Irrigation and Agricultural Space Development at the Ministry of Agriculture until 2013. From 2014-2017, he served as director of the regional office for the agricultural development of Gharb. At the same time, Arrifi was the head of the regional directorate of agriculture of the Gharb-Chrarda Béni Hssen region from 2014-2015. From 2015-2017, his career continued as regional director of agriculture for Rabat-Salé-Kénitra. During his career, Arrifi has trained at the International Harvard Kennedy School in Boston and at the University of New England in Australia.

Created to help Morocco implement and execute its agricultural strategy, ADA has made several achievements in the last few years, with the sector booming between 2008 and 2018.

What is the origin of ADA?

ADA is an agency that was created with the enactment of the Green Morocco Plan in 2008. ADA was created in 2009 just after this agricultural strategy was put in place. This is our first major mission: to support the implementation and the execution of the agricultural strategy by planning, programming, budgeting, monitoring, and evaluation. ADA has also taken on the main mission of promoting agricultural investments through agricultural land mobilization. This is mainly about the land that stands under the private domain of the state, and also it collaborates with the Ministry of the Interior on the mobilization of the collective land. Our third major mission is to support the marketing of Moroccan local products. Morocco is a country with rich and diverse ecosystems, so one of the axes of the Green Morocco Plan has been to develop this sector of local produce. ADA’s fourth major mission is sustainable development, namely fostering projects surrounding climate change. ADA is a public organization in Morocco and is accredited with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and with Adaptation Fund (AF). Through this accreditation, ADA has access to grants from GCF and AF to finance projects in areas that suffer from the negative effects of climate change.

Now that the Green Morocco Plan ended in 2020, what will come next?

There were significant achievements with the Green Morocco Plan. For example, between 2008 and 2018, more than MAD104 billion (USD11.7 billion) was invested, with 40% public investment and 60% private investment. Furthermore, state subsidies and financial incentives are a highly important instrument. Today, a subsidy of MAD1 would generate an investment of MAD2.85. The agricultural GDP in Morocco between 2008 and 2018 saw significant growth, reaching MAD125 billion (USD14 billion) in 2019. Exports of agricultural products, thanks to the Green Morocco Plan, increased from MAD15 billion (USD1.7 billion) in 2008 to more than MAD30 billion (USD3.4 billion) in 2019, with a growth rate of 112%. The Green Morocco Plan has generated 342,000 additional jobs in the agricultural sector, improving the quality of employment in rural areas. It has enabled 990 community-supported agriculture projects to take place for the benefit of small farmers and more than 440,000ha of trees to be planted including fruit trees, olive trees, and so on. The Green Morocco Plan has helped organize the agricultural sector professionally by establishing agricultural inter-professional associations, associations that group together participants from all stages of the same agricultural value chain. Furthermore, the establishment of important legal aid was made possible through this plan.

What is ADA’s relationship with the private sector?

We maintain a strong relationship with the private sector, particularly because one of ADA’s missions is to promote private investment in the agricultural sector. This takes place through a competitive system, through calls for tender and highly detailed specifications to bring in investors who wish to access state land and to invest in agriculture. We hold a list of land that offers a certain agronomic potential. Through these calls for tenders, we are able to select private investors who present the best investment projects and the best business plans. ADA is also committed to generating the maximum number of jobs. ADA chairs an inter-ministerial commission, held by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Moroccan Investment and Export Development Agency. This commission is responsible for overseeing and assessing each investor’s achievements. Since the creation of ADA, we have been able to assign an area that has come close to and exceeding 111,600ha over the past 10 years. More than 1,575 projects have been assigned, and this has helped draw in some MAD22 billion (USD2.5 billion) in investment and create some 63,000 jobs. In Morocco, the agricultural sector has been one of the sectors that stood up extremely well against the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector has also allowed us to keep all markets stocked with food and agricultural products, offering security and reassurance for investors. 

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