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Signatories of Memorandum of Understanding pose together for a photo at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University of Fez.

Dr. Michael Benarroch and Dr. Mario Pinto with Prof. Mustapha Ijjaali, President, and other Faculty at Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdullah (USMBA) Fès, Morocco, May 2024.

UM grows partnerships for sustainable agriculture in Africa

New research agreements with four institutions in Morocco

July 8, 2024 — 

UM has signed four new partnership agreements with institutions across the North African nation of Morocco to advance shared research priorities in green energy and supporting cutting-edge innovation, sustainable development, health, and Indigenous economic reconciliation.

Dr. Michael Benarroch and Prof. Abdemajid Abourriche, Vice-President (Scientific Research) sign MOU at Moulay Ismail University, Meknes, Morocco.

The new Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) and other agreements were signed this year by Dr. Michael Benarroch, President and Vice-Chancellor, and Dr. Mario Pinto, Vice-President (Research & International) during a recent trip to Morocco. The UM visiting delegation was also joined by faculty members Dr. Fouad Daayf (plant science) and Dr. Abdelilah Soussi Gounni (immunology).

“Our partnerships in Morocco support UM’s key strategic research priorities of advancing world-leading innovation in sustainable agriculture and climate action, health and well-being, and Indigenous economic reconciliation,” says Pinto.

Dr. Michael Benarroch, Dr. Mario Pinto and Pr. Mustapha Ijjaali sign MOU at USMBA, Fès, Morocco.

“Through collaboration and exchange we can magnify the impacts of our research to the mutual benefit of our institutions and provide a model for environmentally sustainable food production across Africa and around the world.”

The original 2023 Faculty Exchange (FE) with Université Mohammed VI Polytechnic (UM6P) reflects a shared vision to accelerate sustainable agriculture and green energy initiatives. A key priority for this initiative is to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture through the development of new sustainable fertilizers, such as green ammonia.

Dr. Mario Tenuta, Senior Industrial Research Chair in 4R Nutrient Management and professor of soil ecology in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, is a leader of a new international initiative examining green ammonia production. The Nitrogen Center for Clean Energy and the Environment (NiCCEE) located at UM will facilitate collaboration with UM6P, Moroccan state-owned fertilizer manufacturer OCP Group, the African Plant Nutrition Institute and experts in the U.K., U.S. and Canada.

“UM6P, and Morocco in general, is a leader in advanced farm management in Africa and will help UM advance its research goals in agriculture and medicine on the African continent,” says Tenuta. “OCP is the largest phosphate fertilizer producer in the world and Canada has the world’s largest reserves of potash or potassium fertilizer, so there are many natural synergies with our work at NiCCEE.”

In addition, UM6P researchers will play an important role in UM’s work transforming community and regional connectivity around Western Hudson Bay, stabilizing and strengthening supply chains in central Canada, and helping to bring economic prosperity to the region and beyond.

Researchers from several universities in Morocco also displayed their scaled investment in digital health technologies. The faculty will instruct medical students in the use of digital models for learning the fundamentals in medicine and also for providing health-care delivery in remote regions, a subject of great importance to Indigenous and rural populations in Manitoba.

These agreements represent a commitment to the development of mutually beneficial academic programs, knowledge exchange and the co-ordination of faculty and student mobility for research and teaching purposes.

UM now has formal agreements with the following five institutions in Morocco:

  • Université Mohammed VI Polytechnic, Ben Guerir, Morocco – FEA signed June 16, 2023
  • Université Mohammed Premier, Oudja, Morocco – MOU signed May 6, 2024
  • Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdullah, Fès, Morocco – MOU, FEA with Rady Faculty of Health Sciences signed May 7, 2024
  • Université Moulay Ismail, Meknes, Morocco – MOU Signed May 8, 2024
  • Institut National de la recherche agronomique, Rabat, Morocco – MOU signed May 9, 2024

Dr. Benarroch and Dr. Pinto with representatives of the Institut National de la recherche agronomique, Rabat, Morocco.

Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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