In conversation with Mr. Hicham Bennani, Diffusion Ahmal, Morocco
Mr. Hicham Bennani, Diffusion Ahmal, Morocco
‘My father started importing seed potatoes from Hettema (predecessor of HZPC) in 1991. He was the first Potato Man of the Year. Now, 26 years later, I still work with HZPC that has become a big company. We are market leader in Morocco, but still every day I learn.
Potatoes are the third main food in Morocco, after cereal and maize. Potatoes are used a lot in traditional dishes, cooked in a tagine or home-fried. They are sold at local markets. The pre-packed market is very negligible. Things are changing slowly. Companies such as Carrefour for example are emerging.
There is a lot of competition in the country with approx. 40 exporters and 40 importers. Average imports are 40,000 tons. Moroccans like red skin varieties (85%). A real challenge is that the market is dominated by free varieties (over 50%). Good varieties give power! We continuously aim for better performing varieties.
Our business entails a lot of trying, inviting producers and a lot of training. We are doing everything we can, but there is always room for improvement. We will continue to do our best to distribute HZPC seed potatoes all over Morocco.’