By Francisco Seva Rivadulla. International Agrifood Journalist
The international dimension of Moroccan citrus fruits, their strengths, challenges and opportunities, are the guiding principles of the interview held with an entrepreneur and great connoisseur of the international fruit and vegetable trade such as Stephanie De Wit, owner of the company Agribianco, based in Marrakesh ( Morocco).
As Stephanie De Wit explains, “Agri Bianco was born in January 2020 out of a desire to create a service to supply customers internationally with the highest quality products coupled with exceptional customer service. After years of learning the processes and managing other teams, we realized that it was time to build our own path and add our core values to the fruit and vegetable sector.”
In addition, he also adds that “Agri Bianco is more than a company, we work hard to guarantee the supply of high quality products to our customers around the world, while taking care of our local communities. Our company manages all the production chains: from harvest to delivery, we supervise every step.”
Within the same context, our interviewee highlights that “our team works with producers and warehouses to guarantee that quality is respected and fulfilled according to the specific requests and needs of our clients. We work in the northern and southern hemispheres, which allows us to offer a supply of fresh products throughout the year. We are a multicultural team made up primarily of women who are passionate about delivering consistency, equality and commitment to ensure excellent quality in our business. Our team prides itself on offering the best service to our customers and taking care of our environment and those around us”.
Stephanie De Wit emphasizes that “our company is one hundred percent Moroccan, registered and started up here in Morocco, Agri Bianco is a local company focused on the Moroccan product”.
In addition, it especially highlights that “we focus on niche products with the aim of being different from the rest. We especially work with pomegranates, peppers, melons, berries and organic citrus fruits and then with conventional citrus fruits.”
Characteristics of Moroccan citrus
Our interviewee indicates regarding the Moroccan citrus sector that “Morocco can offer a good quality product and logistically we are very well positioned to reach the rest of the world and the market. However, we must bear in mind that we are bearing an increase in costs. Transport, packaging and fertilizers/chemical products have risen very significantly”
He also recognizes the strengths of Moroccan citrus and directly points out that “we have a climatic advantage. Our labor cost is also more competitive.”
Agribianco is exporting its products to the United States, Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. In fact, Stephanie De Wit points out that “our goal is to continue growing year after year. In citrus and other products, our goal is to grow.”
United States, very important market
Our interviewee also emphasizes that “the United States is becoming a very important market. They take the volume and we do not compete with Spain. This year the United States has bought aggressively in Morocco.”
In relation to the Asian market, he also points out that “Asia has room for supply and development. Although the distance is a challenge, it is certainly the future market that we will focus on.”
Grow in reputation and customer service
Stephanie, as an expert in the international trade of fruit and vegetable products, points out regarding the future of her company that “after all the difficulties of the last three years, with COVID 19, the war between Ukraine and Russia, in the short term the objective is to survive and keep things stable. In the medium term, to grow annually, not only in volume, but also in reputation for constant good quality and excellent customer service. Being known for working with universal standards and not being just another Moroccan company, but standing out from the rest. We also want to be recognized as a women-driven company that hopes to make a difference.”
“We also want to be recognized as a women-driven company that hopes to make a difference”
Within the same context, our interviewee is very optimistic about the future of organic citrus in Morocco, pointing out that “I think they are going to have a very good future. It’s still in a new phase, but there are a few very good organic growers. We are quite close to the markets, but it takes time to gain the trust of customers and the demand is lower, so it is more difficult logistically. It is something that I am excited to develop within our own company.”