Azura is a French-Moroccan business producing vegetables in Agadir and in the the occupied town of Dakhla in southern parts of Western Sahara. 8000 people work in the Azura's giant green houses in Dakhla, most of all producing tomatoes and melons for exports.
In 2009, Azura tomatoes were discovered also in the shops of Coop in Norway and Sweden. Coop Norway then promised to halt all furthher imports. Coop Sweden announced that their tomatoes, on the other hand, only came from Agadir - not Dakhla.
In April 2010 cherry tomatoes from the firm Azura were discovered in the shops of the grocery chain Axfood, with 225 shops in Sweden. When Axfood carried out its first control, they were told that the tomatoes were from "Southern Morocco", but when looking further into the issue, they discovered they were from Dakhla. Azura stated to Axfood that EU's agreement with Morocco also covers Western Sahara. "But we are not of that opinion", stated Axfood's media officer Ingmar Kroon. Axfood has stopped selling Western Saharan tomatoes.
French-Moroccan firm, Soprofel, employs 2.500 people in Western Sahara, according to Moroccan newspaper L’économiste (3 June 2010). Soprofel produces tomatoes and water melons in Dakhla.
The tomatoes are branded under the name “Idyl” at the European market.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.