In response to the demand of rural Moroccan communities for fruit trees and their need to transition from subsistence to modern agriculture, this project will plant 250,000 organic fruit tree seeds (argan, fig and walnut) and 70,000 medicinal plants in 4 nurseries in the Essaouira and Marrakech regions. Villagers request these trees because they do not require pesticides, have a high market value and local people already possess vital skills for maintaining the trees and marketing their fruit.
Eighty-five percent of rural Moroccan households earn less than the national average. Population growth and the low market-value of traditional staple crops (barley and corn), 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. However, the high demand for young trees has made them too expensive for many families.
This project will build community-managed organic fruit tree and medicinal plant nurseries, giving the community access to a sustainable source of income. HAF will train agriculturalists, especially women and youth cooperative members, on organic certification, methods of growing trees and plants and monitoring and registering carbon offsets. Three million fruit trees have already been planted with farming families, sequestering carbon, preventing very serious erosion and generating income.
The project integrates solutions to socio-economic and environmental challenges, and will: 1) after 6 years increase the income of 2,000 households from fruit sales, benefiting 15,000 people; 2) diversify the livelihoods and empower women and youth; 3) prevent soil erosion and sequester carbon; 4) develop technical skills of women and youth in maintaining and replenishing the organic nurseries; and 5) diversify household diets with fruit consumption.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).