AN Australian company is preparing its first shipments after being granted licences to import meat, honey and dairy products into Morocco.
Scotwel Enterprises will send its first shipment of a butter substitute product to Morocco in the coming weeks.
Part owner Gavin Hogg, who also owns Hoggies Estate Wines in South Australia, said there were many varied opportunities in the emerging nation.
“We’re in talks with Australian meat, dairy and fruit companies at the moment and we’ve already got at least three and a half tonnes flying into Morocco in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
“We’ve put in for a tender with the Moroccan Army to supply them with lamb and beef – about 5000-6000 tonne of each.
“We’re sending 500kg of a butter substitute product later this month as a market tester to four prospective distributors so we’re getting to the pointy end and then we’ll fly in 3-4 tonnes in March.”
Known as the Gateway to Africa, Morocco is part of a group of fast-growing nations described as “African Lions”.
In 2015-16, Australia only exported AU$15.4 million worth of goods and services to Morocco, led by meat (excluding beef) ($5.4M); sugars, molasses & honey ($1.3M) and butter products ($1.1M).
The Australian Government announced in November it would establish an embassy in the Moroccan capital Rabat in late 2017 or early 2018 for the first time. Previously, the Australian Embassy in France was responsible for Morocco.
Hogg and his business partners have also secured a license to import alcohol into Morocco. They have established a warehouse in the North African nation and are working with two local distributors before sending the first shipment of wine in March.
The award-winning winemaker said the Hoggies Estate Wines shipment would be a range of wines from his three brands – Kopparossa, Hoggies and Olivia.
“The first lot will be a container, which is 1000 cases and that will be mixed. It’ll be a bit of a scattergun approach to show everyone what’s there and then see how the market responds,” Hogg said.
“The current availability of wine is pretty limited – it’s French, French and French, so I just thought ‘this is another frontier’.”
“We’ll eventually take in all Australian products – ciders, beers, spirits and all things alcohol. It’s a fresh market and I’m absolutely positive it’s going to boom for us.”
Morocco is an Islamic country of 35 million people and about 95 per cent of the citizens are Muslims.
However, Hogg said the 10 million tourists to the country a year – mainly westerners – led him to believe there would be strong demand for Australian food and wine.
He said the licenses not only presented opportunities for Australian exporters in Morocco but could also open up opportunities in other northwestern African nations.
“The global market is so dynamic now it’s amazing,” Hogg said.
“We deeply appreciate what Austrade have done for our collective businesses over the past decade and their offers of continued assistance while we establish our fledgling business.“