Maghreb: different opportunities for the agri-food sector

Although the countries of the Maghreb region are often considered as one, each of the markets – Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria – have its socio-economic specificities that make them unique. This fact is also no exception with regard to the agrifood sector, as each one has different needs and international demand. However, this sector is an important economic force in the markets, with the capacity to generate employment. Governmental policies practiced in this region encourage the development of the agri-food sector, through investment subsidies and fiscal policies (direct and indirect taxes), resulting in improvement in productivity and infrastructures. 

These conclusions emerge from the Maghrebs Market Study, fostered by PortugalFoods (Portuguese association for the food industry) and developed by Market Access. This study includes a macroeconomic evaluation of the most relevant trade relations in these countries and contains also a profile of their consumers and consumption trends.


The Moroccan market has a substantial advantage due to its strategic geographic position in relation to Europe and its good commercial relations with European countries such as France and Spain. Its GDP has shown considerable growth (305%) in the last two decades. The main production forces at the agri-food level are fruits and vegetables, canned fish, olive oil and argan oil, and also citrus fruits. Characterized by its capacity for innovation and strong need for investments, the potential of the food industry is still far from being fully exploited.


Algeria stands out mainly for being an economy heavily dependent on the oil industry, although the government is implementing measures to support other industries. Currently, there is a growing increase in the weight of the primary and secondary sector in GDP. Relations with European countries are favorable, with Italy, France and Spain being part of the list of main trading partners. The agrifood sector accounts for 13% of GDP and employs roughly 23% of the active population. Its major agricultural crops are wheat, barley, oats, citrus fruits, grapes, olives, tobacco and dates. However, agrifood production in the country doesn’t fit the population’s needs and the consumption model is not adjusted to the potential existing in the agricultural sector.


The Tunisian market is also very dependent on the oil industry. However, its industrial activity is diversified, with emphasis on tourism, textiles, construction and the automobile industries. The agri-food sector represents around 9% of GDP and employs 15% of the active population. Also within this sector, it has a strong potential for the production of dates, olive oil, citrus fruits, fruits, vegetables and milk. The fisheries sector is also very important and is the world’s main exporter of olive oil and the second largest producer of biological products in the African market. In terms of demand on the Portuguese market for agri-food products, fish and shellfish represent the vast majority of purchases, followed by dairy products.

You may find a full version of the study in Radar de Mercados platform on PortugalFoods website. The platform offers an interactive tool which pinpoints the primary export markets for your company.

With specialized local consultants, Market Access will be able to strengthen the exports of companies in the agri-food sector to the markets of the Maghreb – Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria -, either through the development of strategic studies, client prospecting, partnerships promotion, commercial visits , among others. Schedule a meeting with our team to find out how we can support you!

Schedule a meeting with our team to find out how we can support you! 

Share This

Copy Link to Clipboard