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Food Legumes Consumption In Morocco: Preliminary Findings On Moroccan Consumers’ Behavior

When addressing the issue of food security, one of the most important crops mentioned worldwide is food legumes. Food legumes have always played in important role on different aspects in Morocco such as food security and nutrition, agriculture and environment, and socio-economy. Indeed, in addition to insuring the equilibrium of human and animal diet, food legumes highly contribute in regenerating soil fertility and ensuring sustainability of production systems. On the economic and social sides, food legumes are grown by smallholder farmers and generate working days and revenues for rural families. Despite their importance and the existing opportunities, such as high market demand and important research and development results, local production of food legumes has witnessed an important decrease during the last two decades. The observed decrease has been triggered by, among others, a shift in the Moroccan consumers’ demand for food legumes from local to imported products. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to understand Moroccan consumers’ behavior regarding food legumes consumption through investigating the drivers that led to the shift from local to imported products consumption, and present recommendation to cope with the situation. In order to achieve this objective, we conduct an empirical study of food legumes distribution in Morocco, through analyzing the downstream of the value chain, namely the processors, distributors, and consumer’s stages. The purpose is to explore their perception of the offer on the market and to clarify consumers’ preferences and expectations. Using semi-conducted interviews with processors and retailers, we first gather data on used products origin, the main transformation phases and sales trends. This part allows us to identify consumption trends and formulate hypotheses on consumers’ behavior to test. Second, we test the formulated hypotheses through analyzing data on consumers’ preferences gathered by conducting surveys in different sales points. This work in progress paper presents preliminary results from interviewing both processors and distributers. The study has been conducted as part of the “India Morocco Food Legumes Initiative”, financed by OCP Foundation, ICARDA, and INRA Morocco.