The German-Moroccan Excellence Centre for Agriculture project is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Project, financed under the BMELV Economic Partnership Programme. The aim of the project is to develop a training centre in Morocco where famers and their organisations, extension staff and other partners in the agricultural value chain can obtain information on modern agricultural technology and cultivation methods.
The project has many partners, both public such as the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture and the Germany Ministry of Food, as well as private such as CLAAS the manufacturer of tractors and combine harvesters, EUROPLANT the producer of potato seeds, GAUGELE which offers post-harvest storage solutions, and GRIMME which specialises in potato harvesters. In November 2013 we had the opportunity to organise a study tour for a Moroccan Delegation of staff from the Ministry of Agriculture and private Moroccan farmers, to visit the Agritechnica fair in Hannover. It is the world’s biggest agricultural technology fair in the world with over 2700 companies/organisations present from 47 countries.
The aim of the study tour was to visit the many private partners of the project as well as create a space and opportunity for learning and discussion with regards to the creation of a private agricultural sector extension and advisory service in Morocco. At the Agritechnica we visited all the German partners of the project. In addition we also had the opportunity to visit the CLAAS factory to learn about their spectrum of machinery and also see how they actually produce their equipment. Of particular interest was to see their apprenticeship scheme, and specially dedicated section of the factory for learning opportunities for their apprentices. We also visited EUROPLANT, in order to see how they produce new varieties of potatoes and discuss the relevance of different varieties the Moroccan context (resistant to drought, high temperatures etc.).
A high point of the visit was to a dairy farm in Bückebug-Meinsen. The delegation was able to gain an insight into the dairy production in system including its modern approach to providing the best possible nutrition and housing for livestock. Of particular interest was the discussion which ensued afterwards with the farmer Mr Lohmann, and his technical advisor Ms Ickler of Landberatung Nienburg. The delegation was able to discuss with the farmer why he is willing to pay for these advisory services, the relevance for him and his perceived benefit. In this particular case Mr Lohmann is a member of a farmers organisation, and it is the farmers organisation which has hired three technical advisors who provide services to all the members of the Farmers Organisation. He highlighted how for any farmer striving to improve yields and productivity, having an independent advisor which whom he can bounce ideas off, and who can provide not only technical advice on production techniques but also on business strategy so as to remain profitable, is essential. They also discussed with Ms Ickler- how this profession developed in Germany and achieved its current status as a private profession without state subsidies, how the profession is regulated and the level/type of qualification required. The discussion left the delegation with much food for thought as to how the Ministry of Agriculture in Morocco can foster the right environment for such a profession to develop.
We would like to thank all the partners of this project who helped the study tour to be such a success.
For any further questions please do not hesitate contacting Ms Tesa Weiss