From all of us at the High Atlas Foundation, we extend best wishes for health and all good things. As 2014 has been an amazing year for us, we wish you the same. Agriculturally, we assist communities currently in eight provinces of Morocco as they plant nurseries, secure organic certification, build cooperatives, benefit from training and create partnerships enabling processing and delivery of product to the global market. We are engaged in all aspects of the value-chain – and we can report that it works with great results; which the support from partners like yourself made this progress possible.
In 2014, HAF created the social enterprise High Atlas Agriculture and Artisanal, or HA3, to assist sales, return net profits as dividends to farmers and reinvest in development projects identified and managed by local communities (such as in health, education, water efficiency, and youth and women’s initiatives). The HAF-HA3 partnership amplifies the green economy that fuels participatory development. It is through this partnership that the clean energy briquette production will take place. Following this year’s harvest, treatment, and processing of organic certified walnuts, HAF and HA3 will complete the briquette production. Throughout the walnut processing, all hulls and husks have been secured in storage to accumulate the required quantity.
Given the improvements that HAF is undergoing, including a particular streamlining of HAF’s presence on Global Giving, this separate project will no longer be active. The activities and process will continue under the “Organic Fruit Trees and Medicinal Herb Nurseries” until a specific Organic Value Chain Project is developed.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. For further details about the progress of HAF, please see here.
As the nut harvest is coming to a peak, the HAF and HA3 teams are currently working on implementing the first ever purchase, processing and sale of organic certified walnuts and almonds. Organic certification has been secured and initial funding is available. Negotiations are underway with the Atlas farmers. Once product is obtained, it will be cleaned, packaged and shipped to the US.
HAF aims to acquire the agricultural waste from this harvest and uphold its zero waste commitment. Further updates following the harvest will be provided, once available.
Additional background information for further details:
High Atlas Agricultural and Artisanal (HA3) partners with farmers across Morocco to transform its agricultural system. Through replacing subsistence farming with a green economy—training farmers in organic agricultural methods and providing the infrastructure needed for this transition—HA3 lifts farmers out of poverty and paves the way for sustainable development.
The clean energy briquettes are a vital component to forging a green economy and embody HA3’s commitment to no waste. Converting agricultural waste such as walnut husks, fallen leaves, and sawdust, into briquettes provides rural households alternative sources for energy other than wood. Using the provinces of Al Houaz and Taroudant to implement pilot programs, HA3 teaches local farmers how to recycle materials so that they, in turn, can produce briquettes that can be used in the local communities as well as sold in both the national as well as international markets.
Additionally, the versatility in ingredients used to construct the briquettes enables the project to easily be adopted across Morocco’s differing landscapes. Here are some the project’s impacts:
1 Reduction in household pollution
2 Decrease in agricultural waste
3 Prevention and reduction of deforestation
4 Increases rural entrepreneurship
5 Diversification of income
6 Augments young girls school attendance as they are often the ones fetching wood
Thanks to your partnership HAF has been able to foster sustainable development and make notable progress towards transforming rural Morocco into a zero waste society.
The clean energy briquettes are a vital component to forging a green economy and embody HA3’s commitment to no waste. Converting agricultural waste such as walnut husks, fallen leaves, and sawdust, into briquettes provides rural households alternative sources for energy other than wood. Using the provinces of Al Houaz and Taroudant to implement pilot programs, HA3 teaches local farmers how to recycle materials so that they, in turn, can produce briquettes that can be used in the local communities as well as sold in both the national as well as international markets. Additionally, the versatility in ingredients used to construct the briquettes enables the project to easily be adopted across Morocco’s differing landscapes. Here are some the project’s impacts:
On February 12-13, HAF Director of Development, Aicha Galef, represented HAF at Agora MedSpring brokerage event in Cairo, Egypt. There she presented HAF’s innovate social enterprise, High Atlas Agriculture and Artisanal (HA3). HA3 was chosen as one of 15 idea carriers from throughout the Mediterranean region and was given the opportunity to pitch its sustainable and eco-friendly business model to a group of researchers, experts, and investors, resulting in the creation of new partnerships for the success of this agribusiness startup. With a strong focus on food, water, and energy, this event celebrated creative solutions—such as biomass briquettes—to the challenges that face Mediterranean nations including environmental protection, food security, and water conservation.
Aicha introduced HA3 to potential investors and interested parties from civil society, government, and research institutions. The brokerage event sought to provide a venue to connect all these different sectors for increase collaboration, which was accomplished through a matchmaking session open to the chosen idea carriers and the event attendees. She met with several representatives from civil society and startups working in the agricultural, environmental and energy conservation sectors.
Aicha had the opportunity to speak with young entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers from throughout the Mediterranean region. She was able to forge a strong connection with an NGO creating organic charcoal. HA3 is expected to benefit greatly from new partnerships formed at the Agora MedSpring event. Dynamic partnerships and inter-sectoral cooperation will help overcome some of the most challenging obstacles to environmental conservation and food security. The HA3 social enterprise will confront these challenges throughout rural Morocco by reinvesting profits from the sale of organic walnuts and almonds into human development projects that benefit the community, such as in education, health, and women and youth empowerment.
HAF will plant its 1 Millionth Fruit tree on January 16th, and this new innovation will allow us to repurpose the waste from those 1 million trees into a clean burning energy source. Briquettes will be used on a local level to alleviate the challenge of collecting or purchasing fuel, and they will be sold domestically and internationally. Profits from these sales will be reinvested into new community-identified human development projects.
The Environment: Rural communities often rely on trees for cooking fuel and for heating, which has led to exploitation of local forests. Providing families an affordable wood alternative will reduce deforestation. The briquettes release fewer greenhouse gases than coal or wood when burned, contributing to the overall preservation of Morocco’s ecosystem.
The Community: The chore of fetching firewood is typically delegated to young girls, hindering school attendance. According to the World Bank, reducing chores for young girls (fetching water and firewood) can increase school attendance by 16%.
For families who do not have access to firewood, purchasing fuel can be a financial burden. The briquettes offer an affordable alternative, since they are made locally and from waste materials.
Sustainability: HAF will continue to expand the scope of the fruit tree agriculture project, with 500,000 young trees to be planted in 2014. The briquette project will begin in Al Haouz and Taroudant Provinces, where HAF has on-going agriculture projects, ensuring access to agricultural waste, such as nut hulls and shells and fallen leaves. The flexibility of briquette composition (they can be produced by combining any agricultural waste, including paper, grass, sawdust, etc) allows this project to be implemented in all the provinces where the HAF works.
Implementation: With partner Green Sahara Furniture, based in Casablanca, HAF will produce a prototype for a wooden lever compression press that will turn agro-waste into small circular bricks that are dried in the sun. After this initial prototype is made, we will train local artisans to produce the press using local materials. We need funding to produce the initial lever press and to train community members in production and operation of the machines.
Long-term impact: This project creates a sustainable system to produce clean fuel, transitioning Morocco to green energy. HAF will provide local families with the training and technology to repurpose agricultural material that typically goes to waste, or new agricultural waste that is being produced by HAF’s fruit tree campaign.
Moreover, this initiative will generate income for rural families: briquettes will sold be on a local and international level by High Atlas Agriculture and Artisanal (HA3) a Cooperative that HAF is currently creating. HA3 will market and sell organic produce to domestic and international markets, and will reinvest part of those profits in the implementation of new community-identified human development
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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