For 5 years, the Jewish Community of Marrakech will offer the use of arable land for HAF to build a nursery on which to raise 80-120,000 fruit tree saplings and train village representatives in arboriculture. In the 2nd and 5th years, the trees will be donated to each household of the surrounding disadvantaged villages and by 6-8 years later, the fruit yields will at least double the income of those rural communities, economically and environmentally benefiting 10,000 people.
85% of rural Moroccan households earn less than the national average. The combination of population growth and the low market-value of traditional staple crops (such as barley), from which most rural households derive their income, have made subsistence agriculture unsustainable, compelling farmers to transition to plant cash-crops, most commonly fruit trees, to generate significantly greater income. The slow pace of the transition to cash crops for rural villages perpetuates poverty.
This project will build a tree nursery of 80-120,000 fruit tree saplings, which grow without pesticides and have high market value. Local people already possess skills and knowledge to maintain these trees and market their fruit. Representative community members will maintain the nursery while learning to cultivate, prune, graft, transplant etc. By providing land for the nursery, the project can alleviate rural poverty and is another important example of Muslim and Jewish Moroccan collaboration.
The project integrates solutions to socio-economic and environmental problems, and will: 1) after 6 years increase the income of 700 households from fruit sales, benefiting 10,000 people; 2) diversify the economy and reduce urban migration; 3) prevent soil erosion and offset carbon emissions; 4) develop technical skills of 8 farmers to maintain and replenish the nursery; 5) diversify diets with fruit consumption; and 6) internationally exemplify Moroccan Muslim-Jewish partnership.
This project presents an opportunity to not only alleviate the severe poverty of rural Moroccan families through sustainable agricultural development, but also promote diverse Moroccan partnerships. - Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, President of the High Atlas Foundation
Total Funding Received to Date: $606
Remaining Goal to be Funded: $44,394
Total Funding Goal: $45,000
President of the High Atlas Foundation
New York City and Marrakech,