Morocco and Tunisia: Facilitating Market Access for Selected Value Chains of Typical Food Products

March 17, 2019
Challenge Small-scale rural producers often struggle to compete on price with standardized products in commodity markets. For these producers, a new trend signifies major opportunities, as increasing numbers of consumers search for authenticity and are willing to pay higher prices for typical food products that are deeply rooted in the culture and tradition of their origin. Not only can small-scale rural producers be freed from competition on price, where they are disadvantaged, they can also be rewarded for maintaining biodiversity and cultural heritage in niche markets. However, if small-scale rural producers are to take advantage of these opportunities, improvements are needed in productivity, quality compliance and product development, and enhancement of their position in both domestic and export markets. Towards a Solution Projet d’Accès au Marché des Produits Agroalimentaires et du Terroir (PAMPAT) aims at improving the performance, market access and socioeconomic conditions of several value chains in Morocco and Tunisia. Selected value chains include those of argan oil and prickly pear in Morocco and harissa, fig and prickly pear in Tunisia. The project aims to address SDG 8 by improving the productivity, quality compliance and product development of small-scale rural producers, with a focus on supporting young entrepreneurs, women and producers from disadvantaged regions. The project also addresses SDG 12 by improving the environmental sustainability of the selected value chains. Within the project, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) supported the first Moroccan contest for traditional food products, which was held in Rabat, Morocco in November 2014. The contest served as a powerful tool to foster market access to traditional food products by linking producers and consumers. More than 360 products and 100 tasters participated in the event. UNIDO brought the Swiss Rural Foundation of the Jura region (FRI) on board to support the organization of the Moroccan contest. Participants from Tunisia attended the Moroccan contest to familiarize themselves with the organizational procedures. Tunisian participants were involved in the preparation and testing phases of the contest and the study tour to Morocco provided opportunities for Tunisian participants to discuss, with their Moroccan counterparts, how to integrate the contest into their national strategy to support and promote traditional food products. Morocco has already mapped the main products of the terroir and is actively promoting several geographical areas, an experience that is in line with the needs of Tunisia, which is in the early stage of actively promoting their traditional food products. The tools and procedures previously used in Morocco will be adapted in Tunisia. Regular strategic exchanges will be maintained between both countries to allow Tunisia to capitalize on Morocco’s experiences and lessons learned. As a result of the exchange, Tunisia has initiated an in-depth analysis and mapping of its own traditional food products and has decided to organize a national contest in 2017/2018. The selected traditional products are deeply rooted in local rural communities. By adding value along the entire value chain, the project helps to improve livelihoods of small-scale rural producers, creates jobs and promotes sustainable and inclusive local economic development. The project’s long-term sustainability is guaranteed by its participatory approach and strong capacity- building component. The main stakeholders of the value chains selected based on official requests for assistance formulated by the Tunisian Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Agriculture were involved in the project’s development. The project has also worked with national institutions to support the national strategy and strengthen the country’s capacity to identify, promote and add value to quality and origin-linked products. Sustainable Development Goal target(s): 8.2, 8.3, 8.5, 12.3 Countries/territories involved: Morocco, Tunisia Supported by: Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) Implementing entities: UNIDO Project status: Ongoing Project period: 2013 -2019 URL of the practice: Contact: Name: Mr. Fabio Russo, Senior Industrial Development Officer, Department of Trade, Investment and Innovation, UNIDO Email: