MOROCCO – Agroberries Limited, a Chile based vertically integrated producer, marketer and distributor of berries, with a best-in-class portfolio of owned and proprietary berry genetic varieties, has invested €40 million to expand its operations to Morocco.
The first phase of the investment in the North African country includes the planting of 300 hectares of blueberries in three different regions.
In the coming years, the company intends to further expand its grower network via licensing of its proprietary varieties with a goal of reaching a total of 1,000 hectares across berry categories.
Agroberries’ farming operations in Morocco will support its fast-growing European marketing platform by complementing its existing offerings for its clients across the United Kingdom and the European Union.
As one of the largest berry marketers in the world, the company supplies a broad retail client base from a combination of its own farming operations that span across more than 2,500 hectares globally, and a vast network of third-party growers across all berry categories.
Jorge Varela, Co-Founder and CEO of Agroberries highlighted, “Our investment in Morocco is a natural next step in our global expansion plan as a leading berry grower and marketer.
“This move leverages our deep agronomical expertise, partnership approach and will help us to continue supplying our European customers year-round with the highest quality berries.”
Founded in 1996, Agroberries caters year-round to a blue-chip customer base of leading retailers throughout the world, leveraging on its marketing companies in the United States and the Netherlands.
The company owns farms and state-of-the-art packing facilities in both hemispheres and has a strong network of strategic alliances with trusted partners globally.
By expanding into Morocco, Agroberries secures shares in a fast-growing market that has seen a nineteen-fold increase in blueberry production between 2005 and 2020.
According to Blue Berries Consulting magazine, Morocco produced 35,100 tonnes of blueberries in 2020.
There has been a significant yearly increase in the planting area in Morocco which has reached up to 500 new hectares per year.
Nearly 90% of Moroccan blueberry production is primarily exported to Spain, France, Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands, according to the President of the Moroccan Association of Producers of Red Fruits (AMPFR) Amine Bennani.
Meanwhile, shifting focus to the Southern part of the continent, United Exports, a leading producer and exporter of blueberries in South Africa, has received €14 million (US$13.9m) loan financing from World Bank’s IFC and the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank (FMO), to increase sustainable blueberry production, create jobs, and boost women’s participation in management roles.
The financial backing will support the fruit logistics company to adopt next-generation OZblu® blueberry varieties that fall outside the frost window and expand its blueberry orchards to frost-free areas, including the Western Cape region.
In addition, a third of the funding will be dedicated to climate-smart agriculture practices and will help the company adopt drip irrigation systems and water meters, among other measures.
The support is expected to strengthen United Exports’ agribusiness value chain and create up to 1,340 direct and indirect jobs by 2030.