The Sustainable Moroccan Strawberry project is creating systemic change by improving both farming practices and the social conditions of strawberry pickers.
Depending on farm size and access to good seeds, farmers producing strawberries in Morocco do not have a steady revenue throughout the year. At the same time, a majority of pickers working in strawberry fields are seasonal workers, meaning they live in precarity with poor access to medical checks and social benefits. Danone, meanwhile, purchases more strawberries than any other fruit. Meeting one third of worldwide strawberry demand and being the leading strawberry provider for European countries, Morocco is a key supplier for Danone, which wishes to secure its strawberry sourcing in a more sustainable way. The Sustainable Moroccan Strawberry project has been co-created with the support of the Danone Ecosystem Fund, Dan Trade (Danone Sourcing entity) and its local partners GIZ, Dirafrost, Messem and Groupe Elephant Vert. Firstly, it helps farmers improve farm management and business acumen, which in turn reduces existing costs and generates additional revenue stream so as to compensate the cost of improving workers’ conditions. Secondly, the pickers are systematically formally registered as employees. As a consequence, their wages increase and they have access to medical care and benefits from the state. To achieve this, a technical institute provides support and advice to farmers on subjects such as legal procedures, farm sustainability and plastic waste management.
The Sustainable Moroccan Strawberry Project creates a systemic change in the Moroccan strawberry industry, its social and environmental impact affecting a broad group of farmers who between them represent 46% of total Moroccan strawberry production. Thanks to the project, farmers can secure their workforce in a region facing new industrial dynamics, as well as optimizing their farming practices, allowing them to be less dependent on seasonality and achieve a more steady revenue. The pickers also benefit through systematic formal employment with its associated social benefits, and better working conditions. Danone secures the sourcing of strawberries for its dairy products while making sure they are produced sustainably.