New farming project as Morocco pushes development in Western Sahara

Western Sahara Resource Watch says four big agro-operators currently have fruit and vegetable plantations in Dakhla: Rosaflor, Soprofel, Azura and Les Domaines Agricoles. "All of these are either owned by the Moroccan king, powerful Moroccan conglomerates or by French companies, selling their produce under brand names as Azura, Idyl, Etoile du Sud and Les Domaines Agricoles." 
Arab Weekly | 10 September 2022
New farming project as Morocco pushes development in Western Sahara
The project aims to turn 52 square kilometres of unused land near the city of Dakhla into farms.
Morocco is seeking investors for a $213 million agriculture project in Western Sahara irrigated by a wind-powered desalination plant.
The project aims to turn 52 square kilometres of unused land near the city of Dakhla into farms growing fruit, vegetables and animal feed, according to an Agriculture Ministry tender launched on Friday.
The project will be 77% state-funded and is part of a $7 billion development plan unrolled by Morocco in 2015 to upgrade Western Sahara’s infrastructure, including the construction of a $1 billion port in Dakhla.
While Morocco regards the Western Sahara as its own, the Algeria-backed Polisario Front movement seeks control over the territory.
The wind-powered desalination plant, part of a wider series of projects aimed at countering water scarcity that has hit Morocco’s agricultural output, was approved last year.
New projects, experts say, show the increasing interest of businessmen into creating a presence in the Western Sahara region, which offers an opportunity for international businesses to easily access African markets.
Morocco boasts a stable political and economic situation, a high quality of infrastructure, including airports, ports and highways, according to many investors.
The laws in the North African country are also stimulating investment and have turned into an incentive for foreign companies to pump capital into Morocco’s southern regions, given substantial development projects that were launched five years ago to transform the region into a gateway to trade with the rest of the world.
Development in the Western Sahara includes the construction of infrastructure and the establishment of free trade zones at the Karkarat border crossing with Mauritania and the Bir Kunduz on the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab, as well as the development of the Dakhla-Atlantic port.
Morocco’s five-year plan, which extends until 2025, focuses on attracting more foreign investments and providing incentives for companies to adapt initially to the situation left by the pandemic and later expand this activity to support economic growth.
Over the last few years, the Laayoune-Sakia El-Hamra region has become a favourite destination for foreign investment, thanks to the development model of the southern provinces, launched by the Moroccan king seven years ago.

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