Wild olives for more growth in Morocco
Aziz Chiki went to university in Germany and worked as a safety and security engineer. After 22 years abroad, he returned to Morocco to produce olive oil, primarily to help his home country.
The climate in Morocco is ideal, and there are many wild olive trees. This is where Aziz Chiki sees the great potential for the production of high-quality olive oil on par with the global market leaders. Consequently, the 44-year-old engineer wants to train the Moroccan olive growers, teaching them all they need to know, to fight poverty in the country.
An interview with Aziz Chiki:
Why did you want to return to Morocco?
I never forgot my happy childhood here, Morocco’s lush nature, the people’s generosity, even though they don’t have much themselves. These memories awakened my desire to one day return and give back to these people.
What is your connection to olives and olive trees?
Both my grandfather and my father were olive growers, so I grew up with olive trees around me. They are fascinating, undemanding plants and very rich in healthy nutrients. Olive trees can live for 3,000 to 5,000 years, which is another result of their beneficial substances. This is why for me, the olive tree also symbolizes strength and hope.
How can your project help people in your native region?
We help local farmers to improve the quality of their olives and olive oil. To do so, we offer free training sessions, in which we tell them important facts about the right harvest, storage and processing of the olives. They are also free to use our facility to produce their oils. We have invested in a very good press, which is able to make oil of the highest quality in an environmentally-friendly way. Olive growers don’t pay more for using our press than for any conventional facility, but they can ask for higher prices as the product is of higher quality. This way, they can increase their income by a third.
How did your studies in Germany help you with your oil production project?
Going to university in Germany made me highly aware of the potential of any kind of process improvement. The technical expertise and the systematic problemsolving process common in the natural sciences have also proven helpful in my endeavor. Another important aspect is that I met some of my current business partners back at university. They are also Moroccan. I managed to convince them of my idea pretty quickly, and today, they invest as much passion in the project as I do.
The Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) is jointly run by the German development agency (GIZ) and the International Placement Services (ZAV) of the Federal Employment Agency (BA). Together, they have been providing development and labour market policy expertise for over 35 years. CIM places experts from Europe and those who have settled in Germany in developing countries and emerging economies. It offers a network for those who have migrated to Germany and who wish to support development in their country of origin, and it advises individuals and decision-makers on migration issues. Our main commissioning party is the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).