IAV HASSAN II is an agricultural university in the region of Agadir, Morocco. The area may be an unknown part of Morocco to the Dutch, but it has some 20,000 hectares of cultivated land, much of it in ‘canary’ greenhouses. The local university is increasingly focusing on educating and developing the sector, due to the large amount of greenhouses in the region. To better connect the university’s students to the (inter)national market, the university has decided to invest in a high-tech Dutch-made greenhouse. The aim is to train students at the highest possible level and to set up fundamental and practical research to take local growers to the next level. The region suffers from severe water shortage and water quality is also under pressure due to increased use and warming of the region. The university sees an opportunity to provide the entire region, as well as sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, with well-trained students and practical, applicable research results. Besides training and knowledge transfer, the greenhouse will also serve as a demonstration model for surrounding growers. They will be able to see demonstrations of certain techniques, methods and varieties in the greenhouses, and hopefully eventually apply them themselves in their own greenhouses.
The director of the university has found a partner in HortiTech who provides the university with knowledge, expertise, and the right direction in the field of greenhouse horticulture. This role translates into various tasks, including support during the tender phase of greenhouse construction, assessment of the feasibility of the greenhouse, training of the management team, and operational support of the greenhouse and management team for the next 5 years. In addition to these practical matters, HortiTech also offers advice and insight into the challenges the university faces. If necessary, HortiTech also leverages its own network to meet the challenges and to give the Dutch sector access to this region.