Red-Orange week in Meknes, Morocco

Michiel Roelse, director of Topsector Horticulture & Starting Materials had the privilege to be invited on behalf of Moroccan minister of agriculture Prof. Mohammed Sadiki to present the Dutch model of triple helix-cooperation at the 16th edition of SIAM on April 23th in Meknes, Morroco. The SIAM is the leading international agriculture exhibition on the African continent with over 900.000 visitors.

As part of the SIAM, there was a high-level scientific conference – also attended by the Spanish Minister of Agriculture – which included a panel with members from various international institutes, a.o. World Bank, FAO and ICARDA. They presented and discussed on the topic of creating impact with research in relation to sustainable and water efficient agriculture/horticulture. The solutions of the Dutch horticulture as discused by Roelse in this panel relate to the goals and ambitions of the institutes mentioned. The Topsector-approach can act as a method to align all these stakeholders and develop and implement solutions.

The conference organized by IAV Hassan II, Prof. Lamiae Ghaouti and INRA Dr. Faouzi Bekkaoui, was a showcase of the current development that the Moroccan agricultural scientific research is making. This was also highlighted at a Topsector-symposium that took place in The Netherlands last February about the connection between the Moroccan and Dutch horticulture clusters. The focus is not only on Dutch technology but according to Prof. Ghaouti also on how the connection between government, knowledge institutes and business is organized in the Netherlands,

At the exhibition a new Dutch pavilion was presented as part of the CombiTrack approach from the Dutch Embassy in Rabat and Netherlands Enterprise Agency ( Several Dutch horticulture companies presented themselves, among those who already have local representation within Morocco, like Koppert Biological Systems and Rijk Zwaan. But also, organizations like the Dutch NGO PUM and Invest International were present.

Although the focus is on protective cultivation also the potato value chain has potential for Dutch companies. But this is not limited to the Topsector Horticulture & Starting Material, also the Topsectors Agri & Food and Water & Maritime have potential within Morocco. The newly appointed agricultural counselor Jaap Satter has created an active spirit in building new connections between the two kingdoms. The Dutch attendances at this conference as a result, have shown an unpreceded potential in the cluster-to-cluster collaboration.