Winnipeg – The government of Canada and the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) are making a long-term training commitment in Morocco.
With a government of Canada investment of $6.4 million, both the feds and Cigi are establishing a Moroccan National Durum Technical Training Centre (DTTC) in Casablanca.
Funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development over the next five years for the Capacity Building for Milling Durum Wheat and Pulse Crops project will allow Cigi to play an important role in the development of markets for Canadian durum wheat and pulses in North African countries.
Earl Geddes, Cigi’s CEO, explains that durum wheat is essential to the Moroccan economy and is the basis for pasta and couscous production. In Morocco, its milling industry has a strong demand for Canadian durum because of its quality.
In fact, Morocco and other North African countries import a significant amount of Canada Western Amber Durum wheat and it’s Canada’s largest agricultural export to Morocco.
Cigi has worked closely with the Casablanca-based L’Institut de Formation de l’industrie Meunière (IFIM) on plans to establish a training program dedicated to durum milling and pasta and couscous technology and to the research and development of analytical services related to durum and its end products. This activity paves the way for increased trade with Morocco, building upon established durum markets in support of Canadian farmers.
“This is a great opportunity to be partnered with IFIM in providing specific durum wheat training,” says Geddes. Canadian durum exports to Morocco totaled $220 million in 2012.
“This long-term training commitment by the government of Canada and Cigi will enhance the skills of Moroccan millers to ensure they are achieving optimum flour quality that in turn is used to produce a wide range of food products,” adds Geddes.
Through the DTTC, Cigi staff will offer vocational training, information, technical expertise and applied research services to the durum wheat sector in Morocco and other North African countries. This training will assist Morocco in creating better employment opportunities for its citizens and help increase the economic value of its domestic durum industry. Some training will also take place in Cigi’s Winnipeg facilities. A component of the DFATD training project will be focused on the processing and use of pulse crops for food in Morocco.
“This activity should contribute to providing new economic growth and opportunities in Morocco and has the potential to maintain and increase the sale of Canadian durum wheat and pulses there and in other key North African markets by enabling training and contact with far more customers than in the past,” says Geddes.
IFIM was established by, and receives ongoing support from, La Fédération Nationale de la Minoterie (FNM). IFIM currently specializes in training and technical assistance in milling and quality control of cereals.