Reducing wastage in the food chain is high on the Moroccan government's agenda. Food wastage is also an important theme at the upcoming SIAM - Salon International de l’Agriculture in Meknès - agricultural trade show. Tolsma-Grisnich is a company based in Emmeloord, the Netherlands. They supply storage and processing technology to businesses in Morocco. This technology has significantly reduced food wastage.
The Tolsma-Grisnich family business has been specializing in the efficient storage and packaging of potatoes, onions, and carrots for 75 years. In recent years, this Dutch company has realized large projects in Morocco. A third such project is currently in the works. Other Dutch companies are also active in this area in Morocco.
Signing a contract in El Hajeb, Morocco.
The company is active worldwide. Besides their head office in Emmeloord, Tolsma-Grisnich has six overseas offices. They work with local dealers in various African countries.
The agricultural sector is developing rapidly in Morocco. This is according to Tolsma-Grisnich's Commercial Director, Vincent Hofstee. He is responsible for sales in French-speaking countries. Potato and onion acreages are on the rise in Morocco too. That is also true for yields per hectare.
Stored in a pit
One of the biggest problems in this sector is the poor storage of the harvested product. Hofstee says, “Many farmers store their onions in, for example, a pit, covered with straw or plastic. In this way, 30% to 40% of the crop is lost. There is talk of considerable losses further up in the chain too. This issue can be addressed through efficient storage techniques and logistics. It is critical for Morocco's food security that ground is gained in this area."
A potato storage facility under construction.
Hofstee manned a Tolsma-Grisnich stand at SIAM in 2018 en 2019. This trade show is held in the Moroccan city of Meknès. There, he made contact with interested investors. Since then, the company has built a storage warehouse near Casablanca and a second one Rabat. In both cases, for storing potatoes. The investor involved buys this product from farmers. It is stored for short, or longer, periods and is then sold.
Tolsma-Grisnich is also developing an onion storage facility. This is on behalf of a farmers cooperative. This cooperative makes use of a subsidy scheme provided by the Moroccan government. The Dutch embassy is co-financing this project. The goal is that this warehouse will be operational this year.
Seeing is believing
Hofstee expects achieving efficient storage facilities will result in a spin-off in Morocco. "Potential investors want to see if our technology offers practical results. Whether that be a farmers' cooperative of an individual investor. Their investment must, of course, show returns. We have now completed several projects. I, therefore, expect to be able to make appointments with more interested parties."
One of Tolsma-Grisnich's storage warehouses in Morocco.
Doing business in Morocco
Hofstee has concluded that Morocco is not an easy country in which to do business. "You need a lot of patience. Take the time to get to know people. Invite interested parties to the Netherlands. Be positive. We like to take our guests to farmers in (the Dutch province of) Flevoland. They can then see the latest storage and sorting techniques in action. That works well."
It is almost time for the next SIAM. From 14 to 19 April 2020, more than a million people will visit the SIAM. There will be 1,700 stands from 70 countries. The SIAM is the largest, best-visited international agricultural trade show in Northern Africa. Dutch companies can still register for a stall at the Holland Pavilion.
Source: Agroberichten Buitenland, Tolsma Grisnich