Meknes: international workshop on circular agriculture

The Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fishing, Rural Development and Water and Forests, Mohammed Sadiki, presided over an international workshop on circular agriculture and agro-ecological innovations on Wednesday 12 January 2022 in Meknes. He also launched several projects for the development of entrepreneurship and innovation. He was accompanied by the Governor of Meknes, the Dutch Ambassador, professionals from the sector and several officials from the Ministry.

The Minister presided over the opening of an international workshop under the theme “Circular agriculture and agro-ecological innovations: Experiences from here and elsewhere”, held at the Qualipôle Alimentation located at the agropole of Meknes.

In his opening remarks, the Minister indicated that circular agriculture, which is considered one of the innovations of agroecology, is a model to follow and that it is an instrument for the emergence of a Moroccan agriculture with triple environmental, economic and social performance. The new Generation Green 2020-2030 strategy reinforces this model, particularly in terms of the second foundation relating to the sustainability of agricultural development through resilient and eco-efficient agriculture.

This workshop is a first initiative to share scientific experiences on agro-ecology in the face of the new challenges of sustainable agricultural development and on circular agriculture as a responsible alternative for future generations. It is also an opportunity to capitalise on practices, success stories and innovations, with a view to establishing a national agro-ecology centre within the National School of Agriculture in Meknes, at the service of researchers, students and farmers.

Circular agriculture, or low external input agriculture, is a component of agroecology and is emerging as a model for the future. The idea is to produce in a way that minimises losses in the production chain by keeping residues and/or by-products of agricultural biomass and food processing in the food system as renewable resources. Farms practising circular agriculture reduce inputs and close cycles as much as possible, especially those of nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon, energy and water.

Organised by the National School of Agriculture of Meknes and AGRINOVA in partnership with the Dutch Embassy, this event was attended by various stakeholders, including professionals and researchers.

The Minister presided over the inauguration of the Centre for Innovation in Agro-Food of Meknes “CENAM Innovation”. He visited the analysis and research laboratories and the incubator and launched the construction work of the technological hall of the centre.

With a cost of 28 million dirhams, the centre’s missions are training, skills development and support for project leaders, incubation of start-ups, innovation and support for agro-industrialists.

The establishment of this centre is part of the new strategy “Generation Green 2020-2030” for the development of the agricultural sector, which provides for the continuation of the development of agricultural sectors based on the achievements, particularly in terms of integration of the sectors from upstream to downstream and the improvement of the conditions for the development and marketing of agricultural and agri-food products. It thus encourages innovation in the agricultural sector and the improvement of the quality of production as well as the multiplication of investment in research and development.

Three partnership agreements have been concluded to ensure the operation of this centre. The first is a framework agreement for research and development in the field of agri-food, concluded between AGRINOVA and INRA. The second agreement, concluded between AGRINOVA and Morocco Foodex, aims at actions of rapprochement and collaboration to contribute to the success of the Generation Green strategy and to promote the competitiveness and growth of Moroccan agri-food companies, particularly those of the Fez-Meknes region, through the improvement of the quality and valorization of agricultural products. The third agreement, concluded between AGRINOVA and ONCA, aims to define the general framework of collaboration to ensure the management and operation of the Support Unit which reports to the centre.

As a reminder, the Agripole Innovation Meknes association “AGRINOVA” is a competitiveness cluster of an agricultural nature set up as an association within the framework of a public-private partnership bringing together agro-industrial companies, interprofessional organisations from different sectors, research and training institutions and public authorities, with a view to developing innovative collaborative research and development projects in the Fez-Meknes region.

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