WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA — The government of Canada said it will commit C$6.4 million to establish a Moroccan National Durum Technical Training Centre (DTTC) in Casablanca.

The Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) said the funding will allow Cigi to play an important role in the development of markets for Canadian durum wheat and pulses in North African countries.

Durum wheat is essential to the Moroccan economy and is the basis for pasta and couscous production, said Cigi Chief Executive Officer Earl Geddes. Cigi has worked closely with L’Institut de Formation de l’industrie Meunière (IFIM) on plans to establish a training program dedicated to durum milling and pasta and couscous technology and to the research and development of analytical services related to durum and its end products. This activity paves the way for increased trade with Morocco, building upon established durum markets in support of Canadian farmers. 

“Morocco and other North African countries import a significant amount of Canada Western Amber Durum wheat, and it’s Canada’s largest agricultural export to Morocco, so this is a great opportunity to be partnered with IFIM in providing specific durum wheat training,” he said. Canadian durum exports to Morocco totaled C$220 million in 2012. 
“The Moroccan milling, couscous and pasta industries have a strong demand for Canadian durum because of its superior quality. This long-term training commitment by the government of Canada and Cigi will enhance the skills of Moroccan millers to ensure they are achieving optimum flour quality that in turn is used to produce a wide range of food products.” 

Through the DTTC, Cigi staff will offer vocational training, information, technical expertise and applied research services to the durum wheat sector in Morocco and other North African countries. This training will assist Morocco in creating better employment opportunities for its citizens and help increase the economic value of its domestic durum industry. Some training will also take place in Cigi’s Winnipeg facilities. A component of the training project will be focused on the processing and use of pulse crops for food in Morocco. 

“This activity should contribute to providing new economic growth and opportunities in Morocco and has the potential to maintain and increase the sale of Canadian durum wheat and pulses there and in other key North African markets by enabling training and contact with far more customers than in the past,” said Geddes.