Evaluation of the Fruit Tree Productivity Project in Morocco: Final Report on the Catalyst Fund Activity
Millennium Challenge Corporation
- Farmers are reluctant to sell olives to the cooperatives of cooperatives (Groupements d’Intérêt Economique, or GIEs) because the GIEs lack working capital and are unable to pay them when olives are delivered.
- GIEs have struggled to sell the oil they produce and have large volumes of unsold inventory, largely because of their high production costs and their lack of experience in marketing.
- To achieve financial sustainability, GIEs will have to repay their debts, find new markets, and secure working capital. GIEs would also benefit from attracting and retaining higher- quality staff—especially professional managers.
- The GIEs have not yet substantively affected farmer income because they are operating at low capacity, have struggled to find profitable markets, and are still paying back loans; however, farmers have experienced modest monetary benefits from using crushing services at the GIE.
As part of a $697.5 million compact between the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Government of Morocco that was signed in 2007, MCC funded a $340.5 million project to support the country’s agricultural sector—the Fruit Tree Productivity Project (FTPP). The FTPP comprised several activities that sought to expand the production of selected tree fruit crops—olives, dates, figs, and almonds—and address constraints along these value chains. The Agence de Partenariat pour le Progrès, a public Moroccan entity, implemented the Compact between 2008 and 2013. MCC contracted with Mathematica to evaluate several components of the FTPP.
This report presents the findings from the final evaluation of one of the FTPP activities: the Catalyst Fund activity. This activity partially funded the construction and provision of equipment to 20 modern olive oil processing units run by second-order producer organizations (cooperatives of cooperatives, known as Groupements d’Intérêt Economique, or GIEs). The GIEs were expected to purchase olives from farmers through their cooperatives, crush those olives to produce high-quality olive oil, and sell the oil under the GIE’s brand. Profits from olive oil sales would be returned to farmers, supplementing the initial payment for purchasing their olives and contributing to increasing their incomes. The final evaluation draws on information from a survey of GIE management; qualitative data from interviews or focus groups with GIE management, cooperative leaders, farmers, and other stakeholders; and tests of the quality of the olive oil produced by the GIEs.