Israeli group joins forces with Morocco university for Sahara fish food project

Consortium of startups, led by Halman-Aldubi Technologies, will develop sustainable food solutions without the need for water, land or energy

A consortium of four Israeli food tech startups is partnering with Morocco’s Mohammed VI Polytechnic University on a project to boost the production of sustainable food solutions in the North African country’s Sahara.

The four food tech startups, led by Halman-Aldubi Technologies, will take part in the project together with the Marrakesh-based Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) to develop sustainable food solutions without the need for water, land or energy. As part of the project, the university, in cooperation with the Israeli startups, will produce high-protein fish food from municipal organic waste, insects and algae.

Morocco, like many African countries, faces food security challenges in particular in the area of protein-rich foods. Moreover, Morocco has set itself an ambitious goal of significantly increasing the volume of production of edible fish farming. The North African country intends to reach an annual volume of 350,000 tons of fish. At the same time, however, the country suffers from a shortage of food needed for fish farming, in addition to logistical difficulties and supply chain problems.

As such, the project will seek to provide a solution to this problem by producing available, local and sustainable fish food with the aim of supplying protein-rich food for 10 million people a day.

Israeli startups which are joining the project have developed technologies in the field of algae cultivation, insect protein extraction, organic waste separation and protein production from organic waste.

“We are pleased to be the first to operate in the Moroccan Sahara,” said Rony Halman, founder and CEO of Halman-Aldubi Technologies. “As a company specializing in providing integrative solutions, we are proud to lead a consortium that has implemented unique Israeli food tech technologies, that will transform one of Africa’s most challenging regions from a food importer to a sustainable food producer, and to support the realization of the vision of the King of Morocco.”

The four Israeli startups which will begin operating in the Moroccan Sahara are:

1. Seakura, which has developed a patented technology for growing algae and seaweed outside the sea containing high amounts of protein, minerals, nutritional fiber, antioxidants, chlorophyll, and vitamins.

2. Shachar Group, a developer of smart, AI-based recycling technology for separating organic waste from non-organic waste, such as food packaging.

3. FreezeM, which has developed technology for extracting protein from insects and focuses on the creation of a stockpile of ready-to-use suspended black soldier fly neonates providing a solution for agricultural seed production.

4. Celitron, a developer of technology for producing 65% pure protein from organic waste.

Since the North African country normalized ties with Israel in 2020, as part of the so-called Abraham Accords, cooperation has started to show some fruits. As part of the deal to re-establish ties, Washington, under the Trump administration, recognized Rabat’s sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara.

Morocco laid claim to the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony with rich phosphate resources and offshore fisheries, after Spain withdrew in 1975.

In February, Moroccan venture capital firm UM6P Ventures told The Times of Israel that the venture capital firm is looking to expand investments in Israeli technologies to help scale up biotech solutions in Africa via investment in early-stage startups in such areas as biotechnology and alternative protein related to agriculture and the alternative food market sector.

Bilateral trade between the two countries grew by a third in 2022, while some 200,000 Israelis visited Morocco, according to official figures. Some 700,000 Israelis are of Moroccan descent, and many have maintained strong ties.