The Morocco-Tunisian group RioFresh announced, through a statement by its CEO Fatma Zramdini, the development of a new agricultural production activity in Montenegro, in order to strengthen the group's operations in North Africa and to open new channels to reach clients in Europe and the United States. "This is still a recent but promising investment, for which we are open to firm partnerships with Montenegran actors," said Zramdini.
Our choice of Montenegro is driven by the country's great agronomic and commercial prospects," explains Zramdini. "This European country has enormous potential that is still under-exploited. The quality of the soil, according to our analyses, is excellent; the water reserves are enormous and are also of very good quality with extraordinary calcium levels. The country also benefits from cultural and geographical proximity to the customers we are targeting in Europe."
"Our new operations in Montenegro consist of 40 ha of surface," adds Zramdini, " including 20 ha irrigated with a pivot system, dedicated to the production of alfalfa, onions, potatoes, watermelon, melon, or other fruits and vegetables depending on demand. The rest is covered with 21 greenhouses dedicated to the production of strawberries."
In terms of markets, RioFresh's focus is on the supply of hypermarkets, explains Zramdini: "From our farms in Tunisia and Morocco, we have been supplying for 10 years hypermarket chains in Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, such as Futaim, Carrefour, Lulu, or Danube, as well as restaurant chains," as for its new activity in Montenegro, Zramdini says: "we work with local hypermarkets and supermarkets such as Voli, Lakovic, and Idea. "
Establishing in Montenegro was not without complications, according to the producer, "We have not yet started exporting to the Gulf countries from Montenegro, as direct flights are seasonal, and we are looking into this issue. Also, we found difficulties in sourcing labor, which we eventually hired from Bangladesh and Iran."
The producer concludes, "As I said earlier, we are also still in need of solid partners to develop our business in Montenegro, especially in planting using pivot irrigation, expanding our open and greenhouses acreage, and developing a customer portfolio in Europe and the US."
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