Doing business with Morocco
A country of fascinating culture and tradition, Morocco is also one of Northern Africa’s shining lights when it comes to the hunting industry. Gun Trade World examines how you can do business there.
Africa is a large and complicated continent to consider doing business with, but it needn’t be as much of a headache as you might imagine, particularly if you target the northern countries first. One of the most promising of those in terms of hunting market potential is Morocco, nestled in the north west corner of Africa with a coastline that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean into the Mediterranean Sea. The landscape of this nation is incredibly varied with desert in the south, forests and mountains and also a rocky and rugged coastline in the north – this means the range of quarry to hunt remains large.
Morocco is perhaps best known for its huge array of game birds that flock there in their thousands throughout the year. It is very popular to go shooting for quail, pigeon, pheasant, woodcock, partridge, snipe and many other species. This makes shotguns and their relevant ammunition and accessories the popular product categories here, with several big names such as Benelli and Browning already fairly well established in the market. Over-and-unders, side-by-sides, pump actions and semi automatic shotguns are all allowed in Morocco and the most popular calibres tend to be .410, 28, 20, 16, 12 and 10 gauge.
There is also a good market for apparel, particularly good footwear that can tackle the vastly varied terrain of Morocco with ease. Hunting in Morocco can get pretty hot at times, so sun and eye protection are also categories where you could do well.
In terms of land-based game, Morocco is slightly more limited in its offerings with only wild boar and hare being the main targets. This does open up the market to limited rifle and air rifle sales, though, giving more opportunity for the discerning shooting business to make inroads here.
There are relatively few retailers in Morocco and most of those are based around its two major cities of Marrakesh and Casablanca. One of the most well-known is Falcoz Ets, which is a re-seller of many major brands that you will know and recognise.
On the whole Moroccan people are friendly and hospitable, but doing business with the country is made much easier if you have empathy and understanding towards Arabic culture. It also helps to have some language skills, not necessarily in Arabic, but French will help you as this is widely spoken. Hunting is a market that is not as openly accepted and promoted in Morocco as in other countries as it is quite a conservative nation, so you will need to spend some time researching the relevant companies to make contact with before you start reaping any rewards.
Legislation and associations
Hunting is unique in Morocco in that the right to hunt belongs to the state and not to individuals, meaning there is different legislative processes in place to other countries you may have hunted in before. One key aspect to this is that it allows hunting lands to be very closely managed and monitored to ensure that hunting remains sustainable and no laws are broken with regard to bag limits or seasons. Hunting can be prohibited by the Government department the High Commission for Water and Forests at any time if they deem that a break from sport is needed to help animal stocks recover. There are many nature reserves controlled by this Government department, including some permanent ones where hunting is never allowed. In others, territories may have hunting banned for one or two consecutive seasons if this is deemed necessary to help game reproduce and grow. This happens reasonably often in Morocco, but it tends not to affect the market too badly, as it is a small and humble industry here anyway.
If you own land in Morocco and you want hunting to take place on it, you must apply for a licence to lease the hunting rights of that land from the state.
One of the major associations in Morocco is the Royal Moroccan Federation of Hunting (FRMC) – www.frmc.org.ma– which is the body in charge of issuing hunting licences and law around sporting shooting pursuits. To obtain a hunting licence in Morocco, one must be a resident of the country and pass the typical security and background checks that are normal in most other countries where hunting is allowed. Only over 18s are allowed a hunting licence. One interesting aspect is that all people who hunt with a licence must also join the hunting association – the idea being that all hunters must become educated about the game their hunting and the land they’re hunting in, in order to reduce undesirable activities such as poaching or over hunting.
Hunting tourism is allowed and is growing, but you must have arranged a trip with a recognised hunting tourism organisation who will handle all the legal aspects on your behalf. You can find a list of recognised bodies on the FRMC website, along with their contact numbers and locations. It is worth adhering to all of the rules and regulations of Morocco as failure to do so can result in significant fines and even prison sentences of up to three months.
Morocco isn’t going to make you rich if you do decide to do business here, but it is a market that could help you break into the African market with relative ease compared to many other nations. The game bird shooting here is well regarded, so that can be an easy way in. The country is also relatively open to ways in which it can make its economy more relevant on the global stage and exert its influence internationally – so its people and its businesses are willing. It will take some time and effort to find the right partners here, but from Gun Trade World’s analysis, it seems like it has the potential to make that effort worthwhile.
Dialling code: +212
Currency: Moroccan dirham (MAD)
Prime Minister: Saadeddine Othmani
Official languages: Moroccan Arabic, Berber, Hassaniya Arabic, French
ECONOMY IN FOCUS
Morocco is one of the major players in Africa in terms of its economic prowess – in fact it is the continent’s fifth largest economy. It is known as a relatively liberal economy and one that has good competition and freedom for companies to grow and prosper. The country’s government have been making a strong effort to allow its economy to grow and modernise since around the 1980s and that has so far been relatively successful. However, it is not without some issues – unemployment is relatively high at about 10 per cent, and youth unemployment stood at a shocking 42 per cent back in 2017. The relatively speedy growth of the economy could be regarded as the reason for this – the economy is fairly uneven, with quite a large disparity between rich and poor making it hard for young people to find good jobs.
Morocco’s economy is mainly supported by agriculture, mineral farming and, more recently, tourism. Morocco is actually the world’s third largest producer of phosphates behind the USA and China. The manufacturing the country carries out mainly revolves around fertilisers made from those phosphates. It is also a world-renowned textiles producing nation and supplies a huge amount of these kinds of products to the European Union, particularly France, a country with which Morocco’s history is intertwined.
One issue that does face Morocco, and may affect you if you attempt to sell products into the country is that there are high import tariffs, which hinder growth. One of the most highly taxed imports is actually petroleum.
On the subject of tourism, Morocco has experienced fast growth in this area with year-on-year percentage increases that would be enviable to most. The main source of these tourists are France, Spain and the UK.
Currency:Moroccan dirham (MAD)
GDP per capita: US$3,441
GDP growth rate:3%
Top export partners: Spain, France, Italy, USA
Top import partners: Spain, France, China, USA, Italy, Turkey
Estimated number of firearms licences held: 1,000,000
In the crosshairs
Shooting quail is one of the most challenging and exciting types of hunting that Morocco offers and is a popular type of wildfowling here. Quail tend to be found in fields with large numbers of plant and grass seeds and you can expect to find great challenge in spotting them thanks to their dark, speckled camouflage patterns. Quail fly low most of the time so are one of the most challenging game birds you can take on. The average wingspan of a quail is between 30cm and 40cm and they are a long-living bird with an average lifespan of about 12 years.
Season: October to March
Stalking hare is a favourite hunting type in Morocco and the small mammal is hugely abundant here, as it is in many countries around the world. There are two main types of hare you can hunt here: the brown hare, which is found in thick forests and heavy undergrowth; and the mountain hare, which as its name suggests is found on higher ground and often in snow where its white hair helps it camouflage. Snowfall helps with the hunting of hares as they are easier to stalk in these conditions. An adult hare weighs between 3kg and 5kg.
Season: Most of the year
Woodcocks, or snipes as they are often called, are a small game bird species that are fairly abundant in the whole northern hemisphere. There are large populations in Morocco and they can be found burrowing in underbush or areas where forest meets open clearing. One of their most iconic characteristics is a long beak that allows them to get at worms and other insects from soil or trees in the undergrowth. Their wingspan usually ranges from 50cm to 65cm and they live for two years on average. Hunting styles for woodcock include wing shooting, driven shooting and walked up.
Season: June and July