More and more consumers are searching for authenticity and are willing to pay higher prices for typical products that are deeply rooted in the culture and tradition of their territories of origin. For small-scale rural producers, this new trend signifies a major opportunity. It frees them from having to compete on price with standardized products and rewards them for the maintenance of biodiversity and cultural heritage in niche markets.

Launched in 2013, “Project for Market Access of Products of Terroir” (PAMPAT) aims to improve the performance, market access and the socio-economic conditions of two value chains in Morocco – argan oil and the Ait Bâamrane cactus prickly pear – which are both typical products of the Souss-Massa-Drâa region. These value chains were selected as they offer promising prospects in terms of job creation, women empowerment and the promotion of sustainable and inclusive local economic development. Financed by the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the project is being implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Fisheries and the Agency for Agricultural Development (ADA).

Project activities focus on strengthening the organization of the selected value chains, improving the productivity, quality compliance and product development of small-scale rural producers, and enhancing their position in both domestic and export markets. The project is also helping to ensure that products comply with the requirements of recently introduced geographical indications, in order to position them in higher niche markets and allow the producers to obtain a premium price and higher revenues.

PAMPAT is also strengthening national and regional capacities for the development and promotion of local products. Activities include training support institutions, organizing the first Moroccan Contest for Traditional Products, and fostering the exchange of experiences and best practices at the regional level, between Tunisia, Egypt and Sub Saharan African countries.

A twin project, also financed by SECO, is being implemented in Tunisia, where the harissa, fig of Djebba and the Kasserine prickly pear value chains have been selected.