The Kingdom of Morocco has met the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s standards for good governance, and entered a compact with the assistance agency. The kingdom has developed a project to improve infrastructure supporting the fishing industry. Modernization of the delivery chain between the sea and the markets will profit fishermen and deliver a fresher product to consumers.
Harvesting the bounty of the sea is an ancient and honorable way to make a living in the Kingdom of Morocco. But despite their hard and dangerous work, this livelihood has not delivered a path out of poverty to fishing families, in large part because of the many hurdles that separate fishers from the most profitable markets.
It’s a long way between that satisfying moment when a catch is pulled from the sea and when a beautifully prepared fish is placed before admiring diners. Poor seaside landing sites, inadequate processing facilities, lack of wholesale markets, and inadequate refrigerated transport are all difficulties that prevent the fisherman from getting the best possible rewards for his efforts.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation is working with the Kingdom of Morocco to improve and modernize the trip that the fishers’ catch makes to market, allowing greater profit for them and delivery of a fresher and healthier product to Moroccan consumers inland.
The Small-Scale Fisheries Project is expected to benefit approximately 25,000 fishers, boat owners, wholesale fish merchants, mobile fish vendors, and their household members. One of the first steps in improving the delivery chain for this industry will be the construction of boat-landing sites equipped with the proper commercial infrastructure to move the catch efficiently and in keeping with environmental and sanitary standards.
The construction and modernization of six wholesale markets, mostly in the interior of the country, will strengthen market integration, support greater numbers of buyers and sellers, and result in a more efficient market price. Further, it is anticipated that investments to improve standards of hygiene, handling, and preservation of fish in the cold chain will contribute to the maintenance of the value of fish and greater sales.
Not only will the project boost the fishing industry, it may also improve the diets of Moroccans. With the creation of a more efficient and sanitary delivery chain, part of the catch that was previously used for animal feed will now end up on consumers’ plates, providing an additional source of protein to the inland population. The benefits will be widely spread, and at the other end of the delivery chain, mobile vendors on specially equipped mopeds will be able to increase the value and volume of fish sold in their inland-marketing range. It is estimated that the incomes of the vendors will increase more than 60 percent, an increase that could go a long way towards lifting them out of poverty.