With the gradual maturity of emerging markets, such as the Middle East, Latin America and Eastern Europe, in recent years, Africa, a relatively new and promising region, began attracting the industry’s attention. Many companies, especially Chinese and Indian companies, are considering the potential of the African market.
North Africa is one of the continent’s key agrochemical markets. However, due to the lack of detailed market data from the industry and the region’s complicated registration regulations, the market has always been slightly mysterious. Therefore, AgroPages took the opportunity to interview leading companies from various countries in the North African market, in the hope of de-mystifying this market through their information and analysis. In the Morocco part, we interviewed Rachid Derdari, Head manager of agro business consulting at ABC agribusiness CONSULTING.
Head manager of agro business consulting at ABC agribusiness CONSULTING
North Africa market overview
Geographically, North Africa refers to countries located on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Sudan. Agriculture is a key sector in most of these countries, and the average contribution of the agricultural sector to their total gross domestic product (GDP) is around 13%. The sector also provides 25% of jobs in these countries.
North Africa’s agricultural regions are located in coastal areas and river valleys, and crop cultivation is heavily dependent on rainfall, especially among small-scale farmers. Agriculture is driven by the topographic characteristics of the land and climatic conditions. Therefore, the share of cropped land is generally low, except in Tunisia (see Table 1).
Table 1 Agriculture overview of North African countries
|Key Agriculture Figures
||9 million Ha (15%)
||5.5 million Ha (32%)
||8.5 million Ha (3.6%)
||3.3 million Ha (4%)
||17 million Ha(9%)
||1.5 million Ha
||0.42 million Ha
||0.987 million Ha
||2.7 million Ha
||1.9 million Ha
|Number of Farms
|Average Farm Size
|Farm smaller than 10 Ha
|% of GDP (2017)
|% of employment (2017)
Grapes, Citrus, Fruit trees
|Olives, Cereals, Stone
fruit, Vegetables Crops,
crops, Fruit trees, Potato,
Citrus, Palm trees
|Sugar cane, Sugar beet,
Wheat, Rice, Maize,
|Output value of the agricultural
industry in million Euro
| 1 from Ministry of agriculture Morocco, ONCA,
2 from Ministry of agriculture Tunisia, National Statistical Institute (INS)
3 from Ministry of agriculture Algeria, Office National des statistiques ALGERIE (ONS)
4 from Ministry of agriculture Egypt, Egypt Data portal
5 from Ministry of agriculture Sudan
Ps: The data was compiled by Moroccan company - ABC agrobusiness CONSULTING.
The agrochemical markets of North African countries vary widely, and their individual potential, legislation and organization are different. Egypt is the largest market, in terms of consumption, valued at US$350 million, followed by Morocco with $220 million, Algeria with $90 million, then Tunisia with $50 million.
Morocco market overview
Morocco is the most attractive agrochemical market were the main agrochemicals multinationals are implemented through thieve own office or trough collaboration with Moroccan companies. It is a 90% private market where free competition is predominant, the other 10% are bids from state companies. There is no agrochemicals product manufacturing industry in Morocco, 95% of products are imported ready to use, the rest is formulated based on pre-mix or concentrate. On the other hand, 35% to 45% of importations are packaged in small content to meet small farmers’ requirements. The pesticides consumption varies every year, depending on climate, pest pressure, farmer practices and market speculations.
Every year Morocco imports between 16kt and 24kt of pesticides, including 800 plant protection products and 270 active ingredients. The FAO statistics shows that since 1990 Moroccan consumption in term of pesticides increase every year, from 5kt in 1986 to 24kt in 2017.
In Moroccan agrochemicals market, insecticides take the lead with 40 to 55% market share, followed by fungicides (35-45%) then herbicides (10-15%). The pesticides consumption of vegetable crops is about 35% market share, despite its small relative cropped area, followed by orchards and vineyards 30% and cereals 25% then industrial crops 10%.
Pesticides in Morocco are imported by nearly 50 companies representing multinationals. Distribution network consist of 1200 sales points and include wholesalers, retailers, cooperatives, farming companies and public institutions.
“Regarding practices, pesticides consumption of crops under green houses or crops intended for export is the much important. Farmers of this category perform a very high yield under a strict quality management system (IPM) to comply with a quality certification chain,” said Rachid Derdari, Head manager of agro business consulting at ABC agrobusiness CONSULTING. The mid term estimation shows that in Agadir region, 100% of tomato, bean, pepper area intended for export will be under IPM. To meet export quality requirements, the bio pesticides demand is increasing. Many biological active ingredients have been registered manly on horticulture and citrus crops.
Registration and regulation of agrochemicals
The National Food Health Safety Product Office (ONSSA) is the regulatory body in Morocco, which was created to support strategic orientations of the Green Moroccan Plan, the objectives of which are:
• To improve the quality of agricultural products
• To guarantee food safety along the alimentary chain
• To improve the competitiveness of agricultural products
• To build consumer confidence through the efficiency of the food control and inspection system
The registration process applied for pesticides by ONSSA is clearer and more efficient and includes the following characteristics:
• The submission is open for every month of the year (unlike Algeria, where it is only one time by year for all pesticide categories, and one time by category in Tunisia)
• The process of registration takes a maximum of three years
• The availability of a clear process for other aspects of the registration (such as changing the brand name, changing the name of the supplier, renewing the registration, etc.). In Algeria and Tunisia, many processes are not possible (the changing of the brand name is considered as a new registration).
In this context, ONSSA takes responsibility to ensure the following acknowledgements:
• Surveillance and sanitary protection of vegetal and animal patrimony at the national level and at the borders
• Sanitary food safety starting from primary products until the final consumer
• Registration and control of agricultural inputs (seeds, pesticides, fertilizers)
• Implementation of laws and policies related to phytosanitary and veterinary measures
If we describe the procedure briefly, it occurs in four important steps:
Step 1: Filing of the registration in an electronic form and a hard copy for letters and official documents, the registration file must include all the toxicological and physico-chemical studies relating to the formulation. Thus, registration in a country OECD is mandatory.
Stage 2: Request for the realization of biological trials after the deposited file has been evaluated as admissible by the ONSSA and the tests are realized with private companies recognized worldwide, such as Eurofins and others.
Step 3: Complete the file with additional studies or information requested by the ONSSA
Step 4: Wait for the probate commission that takes place four times a year.
It should be noted that the system implemented by the ONSSA ensures transparency in terms of the follow-up of the files. Indeed, a virtual number for the registration is granted for each file deposited, this number is codified on the basis of the month and year of the deposit and the filing order of the month. This allows companies to ensure the progress of probate commissions to plan the exact date of the approval of its product.
According to the statistics of the Office des Changes, the imports of plant protection products have not stopped growing, revealed Derdari. However, Morocco is moving toward less organophosphorus compounds and more phytopharmaceutical products that are more effective, more environmentally friendly and are used in higher doses.
North Africa market outlook
Although the agrochemical market in North Africa is in the ascendant, various positive factors have determined that the development prospects of this market are promising.
• The implementation of new large national or international projects for production, thanks to the workforce and the availability of technicians with a very remarkable level of experience.
• The continuous conversion of the operating system for local markets to high value-added projects for export destinations.
• Agricultural development plans implemented by governments provide a strategy for 2030. This is an example of Morocco's green Morocco plan and the plan for local products in Tunisia.
In conclusion, the export market is the center of the noticed evolution and will force the producer to seek less toxic and less residual pesticides (having a PHI of less than three days). In this context, the future of biopesticides is more promising.
ABC Agrobusiness Consulting is the leading consulting company in agribusiness, helping numerous multinationals maximize their profits and grow in African markets. The main services consist of:
Regulatory assistance: File evaluation, file application, trials, follow-up of processes.
Match-making: ABC helps their clients find the best distributor (size of company, technical and sales teams) depending on the product and the capability of the prospect to develop the product of the client. The company underlines that they account for several national partners in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and the West African countries.
Market studies and sector intelligence: ABC provides realistic, precise and decisive data interpretations that will help clients in their decision-making process.
Tel: +212 (0) 661 292903
If you are an information expert who is familiar with Africa agrochemical market, or you have an agrochemical company in this region and you are interested in sharing your own story, please feel free to contact AgroPages.
+86 571 87240039
This article was initially published in AgroPages '2019 Market Insight' magazine. Download the PDF version of the magazine to read more articles.