Morrocan medjoul dates
Moroccan Medjoul dates have been available in our stores since January 2023 thanks to a new chain project. Together with Enabel, the Belgian Development Agency, and GIE Mezquita Dattes, the local farmers cooperative in Morocco, the focus in this project is on payment of a decent wage, ecological cultivation and sustainable partnerships.
Production of dates
Purchased directly from local farmers cooperative GIE Mezguita Dattes
GIE Mezguita Dattes (Groupement d’Intérêt Economique, GIE in short) groups ten cooperatives of a total of 152 farmers in the province of Zagora in the south east of Morocco. It's one of the 25 GIEs active in the ‘oasis zone’ of Morocco and receives support from Enabel for its operations. The 25 EIGs together represent a total of 7,939 affiliated farmers, which includes 1,774 women and 2,678 youngsters. Colruyt Group purchases about 1/8 of GIE Mezguita Dattes' total volume, ensuring a healthy independence for both parties.
Tried and tested partnership with Enabel
Enabel, an organisation we've already cooperated with in other chain projects, including cashew nuts, has been active in the region since 2016. Enabel supports the date production sector through the PAGIE project. The focus is on:
- training and coaching farmers
- the professionalisation of the GIEs for better market access and
- diversification through derivatives (date snacks, syrup, paste, etc.)
Moroccan dates used to be prone to big differences in terms of quality. Partly thanks to the support of Enabel and the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture, these quality issues are a thing of the past. This is why we're investing in this new value chain to create a positive social added value for farmers in this region that has suffered hard economic times.
farmers involved in Morocco in 2022
dates purchased from GIE Mezguita Dattes in 2022
Why are these dates sustainable?
Economic: the farmers are paid a decent wage
We pay the cooperative 15% more per kilogram of dates than they would get on the local market for their dates. On the one hand, GIE Mezguita uses this 15% to ensure the farmers get a stable price and on the other hand to support the farmers' operations.
Ecological: organic and green energy
No pesticides, herbicides or chemicals are used in the date orchards. The modernised irrigation system is based on traditional, eco-friendly practices. Some GIE plots already have a bio certification.
With Enabel's support, solar panels were also installed at the Mezguita Dattes production unit. This initiative reduces the electricity bill by 70% and translates into 70 tonnes less CO2 emissions.
Social: a partnership today and tomorrow
Thousands of families in the region rely on date cultivation. Despite the increasing water scarcity, they don't want to stop growing dates. Our Collibri Foundation aims to develop a sustainable partnership and address issues such as climate change, energy and diversification of derivative products.
And to ensure the future, Collibri Foundation is launching a training project for youngsters in the same region. The focus here is on good production methods, climate adaptation and empowerment of youngsters in the cooperative.
Sustainable dates, now for sale at Colruyt, Bio-Planet and OKay
Sustainable Moroccan dates have been for sale since January 2023 under the brand name Boni and Boni Bio at Colruyt Lowest prices, Bio-Planet and Okay.