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Photo Report: Morocco Tomato Conference 2024

Stakeholders in the Moroccan tomato sector gathered in Agadir on May 30th for the third Moroccan Tomato Conference, organized by Green Smile. The fully booked event brought together various companies from Morocco and abroad. They were all connected to the tomato supply chain, including producers, exporters, seed breeders, public sector bodies, as well as producers and distributors of fertilizers, agricultural inputs, packaging, and IT solutions.

The conference program reflected the industry's most pressing concerns, focusing on plant diseases and climate change, the ToBRFV virus and the water stress that has been affecting the country for the sixth consecutive season.

After the opening speeches, the conference opened with a presentation on the history of the industry in Morocco, spanning three decades. The presentation was given by Said Ourich, from Delassus. Ourich discussed the challenges the industry is facing. While they were thought to be fatal, the company was able to overcome them, reaching a positive turnover and becoming a center of excellence for Moroccan agriculture and agribusiness.

The first session focused on international market trends and exhibition dynamics, with the unveiling of unpublished statistics to April 2024, a full analysis of the European market - the destination of 98% of Moroccan tomato volumes. The speakers in this session were Ali Rougui from Morocco Foodex (export control authority), Hans-Christoph Behr from AMI (Germany), and Fabio Coullet from Agrichains (Spain), with Mariska Dreschler from GreenTech as moderator.

The second session, of a technical character, was devoted to increasing performance by responding to the main constraints facing Morocco: climate, water supply, and phytosanitary issues. The focus was placed on mid-tech and high-tech greenhouses, AI-driven solutions, irrigation, and the development of resistance to ToBRFV, by Stijn Weijns from Agrocare and Lotte Adema from (the Netherlands), Farid Lekjaa from Complexe Horticole d'Agadir (Morocco), Peter Stradiot from Innogreen (Belgium), and Gregori Bonnet from Sygenta (France). The session was moderated by Fouad Ababou from Hoogendoorn.

The last session was dedicated to the number 1 culprit of the tomato sector in Morocco: ToBRFV (and by extension Tobamovirus). The session also reviewed the practical keys to controlling pests and diseases such as tuta absoluta as well as new sustainable control methods. The session was chaired by Nida' Salem, from the University of Jordan, Adriaan Vermunt from Normec Groen Agro Control (Netherlands), Said Amazouz, a private consultant (Morocco), Alberto Urbaneja and Maritxell PĂ©rez-Hedo from IVIA (Spain), and Laila Khouimi in moderation.

After a busy schedule and plenty of discussions the conference closed with an open forum where growers voiced their biggest concerns, including calls for robust seeds and for containing inflation affecting agricultural inputs. On the fringes of the conference, an exhibition brought together a number of stands displaying seeds, fertilizers, and service providers for the tomato industry.

Click here to see the photo report of the Morocco Tomato Conference 2024