The Diana Holding food company in Morocco has formed a strategic alliance with University Mohammed VI Polytechnic (UM6P) to advance precision agriculture in the country. The agreement will form the foundation for cooperation efforts to create sustainable agriculture in Morocco using precise technology.
The initiative will emphasise resource rationalisation in agriculture, with a focus on water. Plant nutrition research is also on the agenda.
Diana Holding is a food and beverage company located in Meknes, Morocco. It had a turnover of 3.3 billion dirhams (356 million US dollar) in 2020. The company has ventures in agriculture, olive growing, poultry farming, trade and distribution. It was founded in 1958 by Brahim Zniber and his widow, Rita Maria Zniber, is the current CEO and has led the company since 2014.
To complement these projects, the partners will create new agricultural research centres in Berkane and Meknes, as well as two experimental locations.
The stakeholders have also committed to have AgriEdge, a commercial branch of the UM6P, provide precision agriculture services. AgriEdge analyses data from sensors, satellite photos or drone photographs to generate recommendations to farmers on cultivation practices.
“This partnership will allow Zniber Domains to strengthen research, development and innovation in the agricultural and agro-industrial fields, as well as contribute to the country’s food sovereignty by joining forces with the UM6P.”Rita Maria Zniber, CEO of Diana Holding, at the signing of the partnership
“This is perfectly compatible with His Majesty King Mohammed VI’s exalted directives. May God assist him and the special commission on the development model’s conclusions in its report on the new development model.”
Collaboration to improve sustainability
Seven areas of collaboration have been identified, one of which is the deployment of precision agricultural services created by AgriEdge, inside the farms of Domaines Zniber.
Among other things, the partners will establish an agricultural research centre with two experimental platforms in Berkane and Meknes. The deal also includes the co-development of a variety of plant nutrition products as well as the exchange of researchers. As such, it is seen as an innovative strategy, paired with a capacity for foresight and quick adaptation, that shows the parties’ willingness to join a dynamic contribution to agricultural sustainability.
Hicham El Habti, president of UM6P, stated, “Climate change will surely have an impact on our common understanding of agricultural production, whether in terms of resource efficiency or yield management. I am certain that this collaboration between the commercial sector and a university will considerably improve the agricultural ecosystems of Berkane and Meknes.”
The agreement was signed on Wednesday, 24 November 2021 by Rita Maria Zniber and Hicham El Habti. The partnership extends to Domaines Zniber, a subsidiary company of Diana Holding.
The partnership comes at a dynamic time for Moroccan agricultural policy. The African Development Bank recently approved 144 million euro for sustainable agricultural projects in Morocco.
The financing agreement was signed at the ministry of agriculture, maritime fisheries, rural development and water and forests and is expected to accelerate Morocco’s new agricultural strategy, “Generation Green 2020-2030”, which aims to support hydropower around the country.
Diana Holding has been strengthening and expanding its position in Morocco for over 55 years. With a combined turnover of 3.352 billion dirhams in 2020 and 7 500 direct employees, this reference agribusiness organisation ranks seventh on the list of Morocco’s most important private businesses.