Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (test)

Plant breeding programs in Morocco


Geographical situation of MoroccoSituated in Northern Africa, Morocco generally enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate. Nevertheless the danger of droughts is ever present. By employing 40% of the nation’s workforce, the agricultural sector is the largest employer of the country. Cereals cover more than 40% of the arable land. Olives, citrus fruits and wine grapes are also major Moroccan crops.

The Moroccan Agricultural Research System is well-developed throughout various public and private institutions, universities and a national association of seed companies. The public institute INRA accounts for roughly 40% of all public agricultural research staff and expenditures.

Major achievements are being made in major fields such as cereals, forage, date palms, citrus and olives. New fields of plant breeding such as PAM (medicinal and aromatic plants) and cactus are rising. Non-conventional breeding through biotechnology significantly increased during the last ten years. In general, abiotic stresses such as drought tolerance have become increasingly the most important common feature of the breeding programmes. Drought has become an important feature of all environments, including the more favourable areas. The relative importance of biotic stresses depends on the crops. They are a central core of the research for cereals, food legumes and date palms, but less important in fruit trees, forage legumes and other crops.

The inadequate number of breeders for each crop is the major constraint for plant breeding activities in Morocco. That is followed by the inadequate availability of laboratory infrastructure to carry out experiments using advanced plant breeding techniques as well as the lack of information system on plant breeding.

Research and education institutes with activities in plant breeding

Public Institutes

National Institute of Agronomical Research

National Research Agronomical Institute (INRA) – Institut National de Recherche Agricole
Website available in French

Established in 1914, INRA is an autonomous public institution administered by the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Maritime Fisheries (MADRPM) mandated to undertake research for agricultural development. It operates through 10 regional centres and 23 experimental fields distributed around the country. Plant breeding at INRA has been recognized as the major strategic activity of its research agenda and has been instrumental in boosting crop production in Morocco. Major achievements are being made in cereals, forages, date palms, citrus and olives. Developing biotechnology capactiy has been one of the major challenges for INRA breeding programs.

National Center for Agricultural and Technical Research

National Centre for Agricultural and Technical Research (CNRST) - Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique et Technique
Website available in French

The CNRST has to implement research and development programs within the framework of choices and priorities fixed by the governmental authority of supervision.

Agronomic and Veterinay Institute Hassan II

Agronomical and Veterinary Institute Hassan II (IAV) - Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire AV Hassan II
Website available in French

Established in 1966, IAV began with only 12 students. Today, this institute employs 335 teacher-researchers, inlcuding 210 PhDs It also has a cooperative relationship with more than 100 institutions around the world. The research activities of IAV focus on the selection and in situ production of Lucerne seeds, the drought resistance of wheat and the productivity of the charmbean.

National School of Agriculture of Meknes

National School of Agriculture of Meknès (ENA) - Ecole Nationale d’Agriculture
Website available in French, English and Arabic

Established in 1942, the ENA is a public institution with administrative and financial autonomy. It is placed under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Since 1998, teaching and research efforts have been reinforced and strengthened. The research programs with the ENA lie within the general scope of the priorities fixed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development, which aim at increasing the agricultural productivity while preserving the natural resources.

Faculty of Sciences of Rabat

Faculty of Sciences of Rabbat (FSR) (University of Mohammed V Agdal) – Faculté des Sciences de Rabbat
Website available in French, English and Arabic

The FSR belongs to the important University of Mohammed v Agdal. The main research themes in FSR are: 1) Cereal improvement through biotechnology, 2) drought resistance, 3) nematode resistance of banana.

Faculty of Sciences of Meknes

Faculty of Sciences of Meknès (FSM) (University of Moulay Ismail) – Faculté des Sciences de Meknès
Website available in French

Established in 1983, FSM is a public institute of training and research. Plant breeding activities are carryied out in the Biology Department of the faculty. FSM focuses on cereal resistance to abiotic stresses through application of biotechnological tools.

Private Institutes


Agricultural Development Company (SODEA) Maroc – Société de Développement Agricole
Website available in English and French

Founded by the State in October 1972 to be in charge of the management of all the recovered agricultural estates, the SODEA today constitutes an important economic entity that plays a major role in the development of agriculture, in general, and arboriculture in particular. The Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Forests is the President of its Supervision Council.


Information by Mohamed Kamal (2008) - Information based on the Morocco's full report from the PBBC survey.
Last revised 09-03-2010, GIPB