Morocco is the third biggest perfume rose producer in the world. The annual rose festival of Kelaat M’Gouna celebrates the flower’s important economic and cultural value.
Rabat – From April 24 to 28, the remote town of Kelaat M’Gouna in central Morocco hosted the 57th annual Rose Festival. The event, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, celebrates the region’s famous perfume rose industry.
The annual festival draws industry professionals and tourists to the area, also called “the valley of the roses.” It includes scientific seminars and roundtables on the perfume rose industry as well as cultural and artistic activities showcasing the Amazigh (Berber) culture of the region.
This year Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Aziz Akhannouch opened the “House of the Rose.” This MAD 7.8 million (approximately $807,000) project includes a museum, a laboratory, an exhibition center, administrative offices, and a conference center.
The roses produced in the area are used for rose water, essential oil, and dried rosebuds that are exported worldwide.
According to the ministry, Morocco produces on average 3,200 tons of perfume roses per year, making it the third largest producer in the world after Bulgaria and Turkey.
Rose production is included in the Morocco Green Plan, launched in 2008 to promote Morocco’s agricultural sector. Thanks to commercialization strategies, the price of roses has increased over the last 10 years from MAD 7 ($0.72) per kilogram before the Morocco Green Plan to MAD 25 ($2.59) per kilogram in 2018.
Rose producers have grouped into cooperatives, reinforcing their commercial negotiation power and contributing to the price increase.
Between 2008 and 2018, Morocco invested MAD 65 million (approximately $7 million) in the perfume rose industry for irrigation and commercialization.
Morocco has three large rose processing centers and 18 smaller centers, including 15 distilleries.
The Rose Festival also includes a “Queen of Roses” pageant. Soukaina Bamzil was crowned queen this year.