Thanks to you, as well as generous funding from the Alliance for Global Giving, we were able to surpass our goal of 50,000 trees by planting 100,000 walnut trees and 14,000 almond trees. The caviat -- we must certify these trees to be organic, so that their produce can be sold at high profit for export.
We have begun this process by sending a team of two agricultural experts and a participatory trainer to the Tifnoute to map the land on which the trees are being planted and ensure that they are viable for organic certification. This is a long and meticulous process that will take about six months, especially since we are covering over 50 acres of mountainous land! We are so pleased to share this development, and to let you know that your support is going to something bigger than just planting trees - it is going to ensure sustainable incomes for years to come in the Tifnoute, which will be a model for other planting projects throughout Morocco.
We are pleased to report the great success we've had in planting high quality and productive trees in Tadmamt, thanks to you! A total of 30,000 Walnut trees have been successfully grafted and planted, with an additional 20,000 cherry trees over the past year.
The walnut trees came from healthy transplants of two varieties of Bulgaria Walnut (Dryanovo and Chyanovo, that inhabit the lands of Tadmamt). The rootstock from the nut trees adapted to the local environmental conditions rapidly, producing high quality nuts and early production.
This project is based on the fundamental principles of the `National Development Initiative Humans (NHRI) and of the High Atlas Foundation. Planting trees doesn't just mean crop, shade and commodity. It means empowering local stakeholders to care for their land, take control of their livelihood and plan for a better future. Dividing the land terraces, building irrigation systems, nurserys and planting was conducted in partnership and consultation with all concerned citizens. They have taken part in true sustainable development of their land.
While we've reached our target goal, we plan to continue to rehabilitate and cultivation five to seven terraces, construct the basin of accumulation of water and to install drip irrigation system to preserve water supply.
There is always more to be done in this incredibly impoverished (both financially and resource-wise) land. With your support, an additional 50,000 walnut trees will be planted in a new extension (see below) giving life to the region in so many ways.
At this time of year, HAF prepares projects for the upcoming planting season, which will begin when the rainy weather arrives.
While planting 458,492 trees in 9 years, HAF has been looking into ways to add value to the yield.
Currently, a team has been busy working out the details of a value-added project for the walnuts and almonds being harvested at several HAF project sites, and HAF has just been awarded one of four Alliance for Global Good’s Innovation fund Prizes, which will enable HAF to obtain organic certification. (Details below)
Now, your contributions will go further than just planting trees. The yield from those trees will create jobs and additional income for community members.
PLEASE CONSIDER making a RECURRING DONATION to this increasingly beneficial project.
HAF Seeking Organic Certification:
As part of a new initiative, HAF has undertaken obtaining organic certification for the walnut and almond crops from High Atlas villages.
In September, HAF led nut specialists and entrepreneurs, a photographer and a technician from Morocco's Ministry of Agriculture on a week-long tour to study the current crops and systems and determine what steps will be necessary in order to obtain certification for these farmers. The expedition is described in detail in this HAF blog: http://www.highatlasfoundation.org/blogs/308-Hafs-harvest-and-organic-certification
HAF Wins an Alliance for Global Good's Innovation Fund prize:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Innovation Fund Winners Announced
Four Nonprofits Selected For Project Funding
Winners use best-in-class combination of nonprofit mission and business models for sustainable social good.
Greensboro, NC – A path to prosperity for the poorest of Morocco's rural farmers through organic certification. … These are the proposals that were selected from nearly 50 applicants to be the  inaugural grantees of the Alliance for Global Good's Innovation Fund. ...
High Atlas Foundation | | Morocco
To learn more about this prize, read HAF's blog post: http://www.highatlasfoundation.org/blogs/312-haf-innovation-fund-winner-of-the-alliance-for-global-good
Attached please see photos taken during a recent tour of these projects earlier in September.
On June 27, 2012, Aliza and I had the pleasure of visiting two of the several High Atlas Foundation (HAF) sites. HAF is one of GlobalGiving's most active partners in Morocco with over 26 projects, 5 of which are currently listed on the GlobalGiving site. HAF has several projects in rural Berber and Arab villages in the southern part of the country. We visited their cherry and walnut tree planting project with Project Manager Abderrahim, who was kind enough to show us around, make introductions to local leaders and act as translator.
The cherry and walnut tree nursery is located in the rural village of Tadmamt. The project, to plant 50,000 walnut and cherry trees, is one of many tree nurseries HAF has started in the last two years. The trees stay in the nursery for one to two years. After this initial growing period, they are given to local families, who can sell the produce at local markets and use the seeds to plant more trees. The walnuts are a local variety, while the cherries are sometimes grafted onto local varieties.
The trees are cared for by a rotation of local volunteers from the surrounding Berber villages. One of the locals, Omar (pictured below), showed us the plants in different stages of development and the irrigation systems they created to make sure the trees get enough water in the arid climate. The nursery is located in a forest, so we also met with a government official from the forestry department to talk about the importance of the trees (they help combat soil erosion and flooding in the mountains), as well as some of the people who have received the trees.
Aliza and I learned a great deal from our morning with HAF- it was wonderful to see firsthand what an active impact the organization is having on the local communities!
HAF does not simply go into a community and plant trees. We only plant trees if a community’s members have decided through their participatory planning process that transitioning from subsistence farming to raising fruit and nut trees would improve their lives... and then, they choose the kind of trees and they build the tree nursery. They send representatives of each village to learn how to raise trees while helping run the nursery, and they pass along their learning to fellow villagers. After 2 years, the young fruit trees are distributed to households for their orchards. By 6 years later we generally see families’ incomes double, and for many families the increase is multiple-fold.
For a village to decide to transition after generations of subsistence farming (barley and corn) to raising fruit trees, requires a treendous amount of courage.
This year, the High Commission of Waters and Forests and its Marrakech regional department supplied the encouragement. By lending arable land on which to grow the nurseries, they have helped reduce the risk and eliminate the cost of the trees for the farmers.
The High Atlas Foundation facilitates community dialogue regarding projects and works together to raise financial support for material and training costs, and the benefitting communities contribute their labor in-kind.
3 new tree projects launched in 2012:
Planted with school children:“Sami’s Project: Trees for Kids” planted 650 trees with the students, staff and parents’ associations of 5 schools in the Al Haouz Province in its successful inaugural year, while another 142 trees were planted with schools in the Ben Guerir Province.
Trees distributed from nurseries:In February, 22,000 walnut and cherry tree saplings were distributed to families in 43 villages in the Taroudant Province - from 2 nurseries established by HAF in 2010 in memory of Kate Jeans-Gail Memorial, a former Peace Corps Volunteer who served in and loved Morocco.
While we all know the environmental benefits from trees, that’s not the only reason for this campaign. Trees are also good for Morocco as a means to fight desertification and erosion and also to lift entire rural communities out of poverty. (Trees alone of course cannot end poverty: Nurseries combined with irrigation projects (integrating clean drinking water whenever possible), value added and other initiatives that add economic diversity, and skills-building education are the most common priorities expressed by approximately 120 rural villages in 6 provinces with whom HAF currently partners. HAF is also dedicated to these community projects.
Rural Moroccans make up approximately 45% of the country’s population of 32 million, and the World Bank estimates that 85% of their households earn less than the national average. As a corollary, 19% of the Moroccan population live beneath the national poverty line, with 70% of that 19% living in rural areas.
The combination of population growth and the low market-value of traditional staple crops (corn and barley), from which most rural households derive their income, have made subsistence agriculture unsustainable. According to Morocco’s Ministry of Agriculture, these staples are planted on more than 70% of agricultural land, yet account for only 10-15% of agricultural revenue.
Achieving 1 Million Trees in 2013:In 2013, HAF together with community and government partners are mobilizing to plant 11 fruit tree nurseries in seven provinces (Al Haouz, Azrou, Errachidia, Khenifra, Rhamna, Taza, and Taroudant) - to greatly benefit 50,000 people. The 550,000 trees will make it possible to not only achieve but perhaps even to surpass the 1 Million Tree goal.
The High Commission of Waters and Forests’ lending the use of arable land to benefit the rural villages near national parks is extremely helpful and wonderful,and this year the first such nursery was implemented at Toubkal National Park in Tadmamt, Al Haouz province. The Jewish Community of Marrakech is also lending the use of arable land for community nurseries near some of their culturally historic rural sites to benefit rural families also in Al Haouz. The Lodestar Foundation was the financial catalyst to enable planting in 2013 the first nursery in this new partnership in the region of Akraïch. The OCP Foundation and the Ministry of Agriculture are supporting the olive tree planting in the Rhamna province. G4S North and West Africa, the Penney Foundation, and the Jeans-Gail family funded the nurseries in the Taroudant province. Newlyweds Wahiba Benloughmari and Michael Gilliland are enabling the Taza nursery to begin. Former Peace Corps Volunteers are remembering their late and dear colleagueTom Tolen, by seeking to benefit communities also near Taza where he served.
The High Atlas Foundation seeks, builds, and salutes partnerships to achieve sustainable development.
Please contact Ouafa Elbargui for more information:email@example.com; tel. +212 (0) 677 65 53 16.
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President of the High Atlas Foundation
New York City and Marrakech,
NY (US) & AlHaouz (Maroc)