Our Programs

Engaging Venture Capital to Strengthen Agricultural Value Chains in Morocco

This program was conceived as a mechanism to assist the agribusiness sector better understand the long-term business and economic value of equitable win-win relations, in particular with small holder farmers.
  • Program Snapshot

  • Country: Morocco
  • Award Value: $93,980
  • VEGA Lead Member: Cuso International, International Executive Service Corps (IESC), PYXERA Global
  • Objective: The project established a partnership between the Moroccan national venture capital association (AMIC) and VEGA as an important screening mechanism to identify technical assistance needs for high-potential, innovative agribusinesses.
  • People Impacted: 38
  • Timeline: September, 2012 - November, 2013
  • Volunteers: 4
  • Local Partners:

    Moroccan national venture capital association (AMIC)

  • Theme: Agriculture, Impact Investing
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A Sicopa employee shows a project volunteer how their machine removes seeds from the olives.

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Jennifer Wang, placed through the MBAs Without Borders, assisted Sicopa management on market research, customer relations, and business development

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Project volunteers Dr. Ahmed Awad and Jennifer Wang enjoy dinner together in Fez, Morocco after a day in Sicopa’s office.

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Advisor Jennifer Wang (left) with her Sicopa supervisor, Heuda Guessous, visiting olive groves a short drive from Fez.

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Saffron production at 123 Safran, where Volunteer Hal Handley provided technical assistance in Morocco

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Volunteer Hal Handley (left) with the partners at 123 Safran in Morocco,

Ag Sector Council Seminar | DeAnn McGrew & Melina Dumas | Olives, Tractors, & Healthy Birds

DeAnn McGrew of Winrock International and Melina Dumas of VEGA gave a brief recap of the December USAID Ag Sector Council on the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer program. To learn more about the seminar please visit the Agrilinks event page here: http://bit.ly/1g6Dtvp

The USAID funded Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) pilot project Engaging Venture Capital to Strengthen Agricultural Value Chains in Morocco that VEGA implemented from 2012 to 2013 arose from two key observations initially made by Program Adviser William Fellows, a former venture investor and long-term advisor to venture/risk capital funds in the Maghreb region:

  1. Despite bringing ‘smart’ capital to growth oriented SMEs in Morocco, Venture Funds face real and impactful constraints. VC funds in emerging markets are typically staffed by purely or largely financial staff, ex-bankers, or chartered accountants who do not have the expertise necessary to help solve pressing industrial challenges, whether in production, technology, or management.
  2. Local markets can have decent basic expertise to develop and call on, but often lack in depth expertise to support industrial innovation, particularly for new markets. It is usually cost and time prohibitive to search out and bring in specialized expertise on their own, and typically the investor teams lack the time and networks to address specialized issues that a firm may face, such as specific certification issues for a given market or improvement in industrial processes.

The project established a partnership between the Moroccan national venture capital association (AMIC) and VEGA as an important screening mechanism to identify technical assistance needs for high-potential, innovative agribusinesses.  It also was conceived as a mechanism to assist the agribusiness sector better understand the long-term business and economic value of equitable win-win relations, in particular with small holder farmers.