The Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture and High Commission of Water and Forestry partner with HAF by providing nursery land and technical support for a ten year period. The Ministry and Commission see the organic figs project as a way to pursue goals outlined in the government’s Plan Maroc Vert and Environmental Charter, which set reforestation and agroeconomic targets and strategies for the coming decades, and calls specifically for the rejuvenation and creation of organic
fruit tree crops and organization of their cultivators. The plan names figs as a special focus. Both organizations have indicated that fig crops in the Tangier-Tetouan region, which encompasses HAF’s planned nursery, suffer from ageing, neglect and a lack of effective marketing. The Ministry and Commission see HAF’s planned nursery in Tazroute as strengthening the area’s agricultural economy, supporting rural households and honoring the tradition of fig cultivation, to which people in the area are deeply emotionally bound. Support of fig crops will also ensure that figs do not become extinct in the area, a threat that has already eradicated plum and pear varieties there.
As part of the partnership, HAF and the ministries aim to create a fig nursery, distribute saplings for free, create a scientific teaching garden with all regional fig varieties, train farmers in production and value-added processing techniques, and create a fig growers’ cooperative to further explore opportunities in cultivation and marketing. Ten varieties of fig will be grown, and saplings will be distributed two and three years after seed planting.
The involved organizations plan to reach 35,000 beneficiaries (50 percent of whom will be rural women in Ouezzane province and the greater Tangier-Tetouan region), extend fig crops by 11,000 hectares and reach a 126 percent increase in fig production by 2020.
While the Moroccan government is contributing land and technical support for the organic figs nursery, HAF is still seeking funding for the significant remainder, without which it cannot pursue the opportunities for rural Moroccans accessed by this project.
The environment, youth, women and rural families and communities are key targeted beneficiaries, and the profit generated through this project and model will allow individuals and their associations to improve their livelihoods and develop their country’s economy.