Tag Archives: Agriculture

COVID-19 MED BRIEF no.13: Deterioration of Food (In)security in the South Mediterranean and MENA Region in Times of Covid-19

The recent coronavirus crisis threatens the health, economies and societies of all countries. In Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries, the fight against the pandemic is even more complicated. Cooperation and EU-Med strategies in key sectors are needed. Therefore, the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) and FEMISE join forces and launch their joint series of Policy Briefs called “COVID-19 MED BRIEFS” to pave the way for thematic analyses and policy relevant recommendations.

The thirteenth COVID-19 MED BRIEF, entitled “Deterioration of Food (In)security in the South Mediterranean and MENA Region in Times of Covid-19”         by Dilek Gürsel is available here



This brief focuses on food insecurity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with specific examples from the South Mediterranean (Maghreb, Mashreq) countries, and on how it is aggravating during a global shock such as the Covid-19 pandemic. It examines the socioeconomic situation on the ground and proposes recommendations to absorb crucial negative impact resulting from consequences on the agricultural sector and advocates for the development of systems that can generate enhanced regional food-sufficiency.




This Policy Brief is produced as part of the series of Policy Briefs on « Responding to the Challenges of COVID-19 in the Mediterranean » that is undertaken in partnership between FEMISE and the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI).

The views expressed in this Brief are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of CMI or FEMISE. The contents have not been subjected to verification by CMI or FEMISE and their publication does not reflect ownership by CMI or FEMISE.

Environmental Regulation and Agricultural Trade Development (report FEM44-06)

The political implications of these results are as follows. First, it is illusory to consider bilateral free trade agreements as capable, on their own, of increasing trade flows between the two shores and developing the agricultural sectors of the SEMCs. In fact, and given the vulnerability of agricultural products, without accompanying upstream measures, the opening of the European market in the agricultural sector, in particular that of fruit and vegetables, would bring only a limited advantage to these countries. In addition, support for the modernization and adoption of new technologies that respect the environment and meet the requirements of the European market is necessary so that the SEMCs can really benefit from the liberalization of agricultural trade with the EU. Secondly, the harmonization of agri-environmental measures between the Common Agricultural Policies and those introduced by PSEM is strongly recommended and should make it possible both to increase the competitiveness of their sectors and to facilitate access to the European market. This raises an important point about the trade agreements being considered or being negotiated as it is important to take into account the slowness of the process related to the transformation of agricultural production systems (eg conversion to organic farming, training and adaptation of farmers to new technologies). As a result, appropriate deadlines must be taken into consideration by both parties. Finally, it is clear that the harmonization of non-tariff measures in a second step according to the international system would be a lever to increase agricultural trade and integrate more fully into the global economy.

Evaluation of the Agricultural strategy of Morocco (Green Morocco Plan) with a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model

1. Objective and Methodology

The research seeks to assess the capacity of Morocco to achieve the objectives assigned to its agricultural strategy named “Plan Maroc Vert – PMV” in terms of economic and social development as well its impact on agricultural production, on global GDP, on macroeconomic equilibria, on households’ welfare in terms of income and consumption of goods and services, as well as on trade in agricultural products with the rest of the world and country’s food security etc.

The aim of the research is to highlight the challenges facing Moroccan agriculture and their implications for the PMV and to suggest adaptations to avoid negative impacts on agriculture in particular, of exogenous factors, which may hamper the implementation of PMV.

Fundamental questions structuring this work include:
– Can the agricultural sector be a catalyst with spillover effects on the development of the Moroccan economy? In particular, its effects on the trade balance in the light of the openness policy.

– What will be the impact of PMV on the distribution of income (rural / urban), and hence on social welfare in a holistic way?

– What are the human, financial, institutional and managerial means to be put in place to achieve the objectives set by the Plan? In this context, what is the impact of the public intervention (taxation + subsidy) on the agricultural sector?

– Will the PMV allow Morocco to reach food security and how could it be achieved?

The study examines, first, the historical evolution of public policy intervention in the agricultural sector. Second, it details the characteristics and performance of the agricultural sector, to appreciate its strengths and weaknesses, tendencies. The focus being made the economic and social implications. A third part presents the foundations, the objectives and the strategic axis of the PMV. The fourth section discusses the main challenges facing the PMV which implications may hamper its implementation. A final section focuses on an ex-post evaluation of the first years strategy’s implementation and an ex-ante evaluation that develops a trend scenario of the strategy and simulation of some policies related to agricultural issues before concluding with some recommendations.

Three complementary methodological approaches have been put to use:
• An Input-Output analysis based (IO table) complemented by a descriptive analysis of the evolution of indicators relating to agriculture;

• A comparative analysis of the Moroccan agricultural sector with those of other countries, particularly countries having succeeded in transforming their agriculture sectors such as Spain, Chile, Mexico and India;

• The third approach consists in using a dynamic computable general equilibrium model for an impact assessment of the PMV.

2. Characteristics and performance of the agricultural sector
Public policy efforts, despite their shortcomings, have achieved success and strengthened the role of agriculture in growth dynamics. In addition to its contribution to GDP of 16%, its impact on foreign trade is significant with a value of agricultural exports representing an average of 18% of total exports. Agricultural production can cover national needs up to 100% for meats, fruits and vegetables, 78% of needs milk, but only 62% of cereals (50% wheat needs).

In addition to the production function, agriculture plays an important role in improving the standard of living of the rural population and a central role in the management of natural resources. Indeed, agriculture provides 45% of national employment and generates more than 65% of rural household income and enhances the 8.7 million ha of agricultural area (15% irrigated).

3. Objectives, foundations and strategic axis of PMV
The new agricultural strategy called “Plan Maroc Vert” (PMV), developped over the next fifteen years, envisions to make the agricultural sector as the main engine of growth for the national economy. The PMV is thus the roadmap which Morocco has drawn to follow the path of convergence and successful regional integration. This new strategy ambitions socio-economic spillovers in terms of value added, investment, job creation, and improving farmers’ incomes. It also takes into account the different components of the agricultural sector on the territorial, human, social sides as well as sustainable management of natural resources.

Adopted in 2008, the PMV presents itself as a platform that allows for making adjustments to the framework. It combines a series of policies, institutional reforms and public sector investments to implement the vision for agriculture in Morocco. It aims to achieve a balanced development of the sector that allows the shift from a dual system (a minority of modern farms and a majority of farmers practicing subsistence crops) to an agriculture based on two pillars:

The first pillar focuses on the development of modern agriculture and high value / high productivity to meet the rules of the market with a central role of the private sector.
The second pillar concerns the solidarity support of small farmers through improving farmers’ incomes specially the precarious ones. To this end, the strategy foresees the implementation of projects of conversion (reallocation), of intensification and diversification with direct state assistance to improve farm income 2 to 3 times for 3 million rural.

To do this, it provides public interventions suitable for medium and large farms and the development of modern agriculture with high value added (Pillar I) while maintaining the solidarity support of small-scale agriculture (Pillar II).

4. Key issues / risks in the implementation of PMV
In an international context marked by an economic crisis with consequences and effects not yet entirely clear, the objectives of PMV depend on the fate of the challenges that will surely arise for the evolution of agriculture. These uncertainties and changes in internal and external factors require a lot of vigilance in this assessment, including issues related to technological change, particularly biotechnology, opening and trade liberalization, insertion into global value chains, food safety, the pressure of demographic shock with its implications for employment and poverty reduction, and the preservation and enhancement of the environment by adaptation to climate change especially droughts in recent decades.

5. Ex-post and ex-ante PMV assessment
Two approaches are used to assess the ability to achieve the objectives of the PMV: The first is an ex-post evaluation of the first years of implementation of the strategy. The study summarizes the main achievements of the PMV and lists expectations regarding interconnections with other areas of business and economic and social requirements.

The second approach is based on an ex-ante evaluation of PMV based on a dynamic computable general equilibrium model.

Various simulations explore the impact of PMV on the Moroccan economy in general and on the welfare of the poor in particular. In the absence of accompanying policies, major investments planned (public and private) in the pursuit of liberalization will have mixed and ambiguous results.

6. Conclusions and recommendations
Through the combination of the three approaches, it appears that the existence of an agricultural development strategy is certainly better than no strategy. The strategy adopted will certainly have a positive economic and social impact: increased production and farmers’ incomes.

However, the strategy deserves to be revisited in a broader framework:

1. What place for Moroccan agriculture in the overall economy: its weight in the GDP and employment?

2. What relationship between the country’s agriculture and other sectors of the economy and foreign trade in particular?

3. What socio-economic system for the rural world and what place for it at the national level?

The comparative analysis shows the need for:

• A technological framework, especially Pillar II: Training of farmers, extension technology, the development of research and development by industry.

• A re-industrialization of the country: it is the only option to absorb the surplus labor in the sector. The agro-industry should be an important part of this process.

•Educational and training schemes as levers for the modernization of agriculture and its development.

• Supply chains and marketing where farmers play an important role to help them acquire part of the sector’s surplus.