Due to its long Atlantic coast line, Morocco’s west coast is one of the most fertile parts of Africa, supplying Europe with oranges, olives, mint, melons, strawberries and tomatoes. Average temperatures of around 20c, and frequent rainfall help to facilitate perfect agricultural conditions.
Delassus, a Moroccan grower and transporter of cherry tomatoes, started shipping them to Europe in the early 1980’s and since then, have invested in modern greenhouse technology to enable a year round growing season.
The UK is Delassus’ biggest market and therefore the quality of the product has to be extremely high. Delassus’ President, Kacim Bennani-Smires says;
“The customers in the United Kingdom require the highest quality and food safety levels … So that is one of the biggest drives for us to keep up with the latest growing techniques and certifications.”
Focussing exclusively on these little tomatoes has been the key to the company’s success;
“The idea for us has been to use our focus to be strong and professional…We have our own research and development department that work closely together with leading seed breeders to select the best varieties. This ensures that the crops we grow are custom fit to our company’s philosophy and the customer’s requirements.”
Thanks to the implementation of greenhouse and modern hydroponic technology, Delassus now cultivates over 300 hectares of land, and keeps 3000 workers in work year round. Previously this had been a seasonal enterprise. Bennani-Smires continues;
“Because we grow 12 months a year, we are able to train and keep a steady labour supply.”
Robin Parker of Gabriel Ash, UK based greenhouse designers believes the greenhouse is entering a new era of global importance;
“We are seeing how greenhouses are helping maintain the food supply, whilst creating permanent jobs in countries where previously, the growing season was at the mercy of the elements. The greenhouse is becoming an important tool in the push for global economic growth.”
Next time you garnish your salad with a few of these sweet little tomatoes, remember that they are part of a globalised process – a process that begins with innovation and job creation and ends with tasty ,healthy food on your plate