Investing in aromatic roses in Morocco

The production of aromatic roses rose from 2,500 tonnes annually before the introduction of the Green Plan in 2007 to about 3,350 tonnes a year the past three years.
Sunday 12/05/2019
A Moroccan woman harvests Damask roses in Kalaat M’Gouna at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains. (AFP)
Booming business. A Moroccan woman harvests Damask roses in Kalaat M’Gouna at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains. (AFP)

RABAT - Figures indicate that Morocco’s rose-growing industry is reaping the benefits of the country’s Green Plan. Production and prices paid to producers have increased in recent years and are expected to grow further this season.

The figures were revealed during the International Salon for Aromatic Roses in Morocco, which met in Kalaat M’Gouna.

The production of aromatic roses rose from 2,500 tonnes annually before the introduction of the Green Plan in 2007 to about 3,350 tonnes a year the past three years. Moroccan specialists attribute the production increase to the programme signed between the government and the industry’s workers in 2012.

The Ministry of Agriculture said Morocco’s Green Plan gives great importance to rehabilitating and developing local products. The ministry pointed out that the production chain of aromatic roses experienced a remarkable transition because of its structuring and organisation through the Moroccan Interprofessional Federation of the Perfume Rose.

Moroccan Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch said during the salon that there was a need to make important investments in expanding the area dedicated to rose growing in the region. He said that the region has the potential of becoming a convergence point for all professionals interested in perfume roses.

Official data stated that there are about 880 hectares dedicated to growing aromatic roses in Morocco, with an estimated production of 3,200 tonnes of roses last year, which puts Morocco in third worldwide, after Bulgaria and Turkey, in rose production.

For the current season, the industry said it expects to produce about 3,900 tonnes, the highest production level in Moroccan history.

In the last three years, about 6,300 tonnes of roses were exported, generating approximately $157 million in revenues for the state.

Specialists at the National Office for Health Safety of Food Products said a production chain of aromatic roses contributes to the overall development of Morocco. They said economic institutions and cooperatives interested in regional products should pay great attention to health safety to enhance their products.

During the international salon at Kalaat M’Gouna, the Dar al-Ward al-Otri Foundation (Aromatic Rose Foundation) was inaugurated to contribute to the structuring of the production chain and helping establish partnerships in the sector and enhancing the industry’s negotiating capabilities.

Akhannouch said: “The aromatic rose is one of the major products of the region and the headquarters of the Aromatic Rose Foundation in Kalaat M’Gouna is a beautiful reflection of this local product.”

The foundation, which established at a cost of $827,000, was entrusted with laying the groundwork for grouping the rose production chain, establishing an exchange for roses and their derivatives by setting a reference price and coordinating the designation of origin for roses and their derivatives.

The foundation is to also ensure that quality is respected in rose production based on traceability and genus while providing marketing the flowers, as well as organising awareness and training programmes for rose growers.

The rose sector in Morocco includes three large industrial transformational units in addition to 18 local traditional facilities, including 15 distillation units distributed as part of the roses project. Data indicate that more than 1,000 tonnes of fresh roses have been distilled up to now.

The Ministry of Agriculture made significant efforts in the Ouarzazate, Zakoura and Tinghir areas in south-eastern Morocco by investing about $207 million through Morocco’s Green Plan.

Akhannouch stressed the need to make more investments in remote areas where economies are based on local products. From 2008-18, the Moroccan government invested $6.7 million in the rose production chain.

The International Rose Salon is an annual event highlighting the cultivation of the aromatic roses that characterises Kalaat M’Gouna and contributes to regional development through revitalising its economy and highlighting its agricultural potential.

The Moroccan Interprofessional Federation of the Perfume Rose has streamlined the aromatic rose production chain. The federation brings together growers, industrialists and traders.

The price of aromatic roses has increased from 7 dirhams (US 70 cents) per kilogram before the Green Plan was introduced to 25 dirhams ($2.50) per kilogram in 2018.

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