Irrigation Systems for Fruit Tree Agriculture

by High Atlas Foundation

The High Atlas Foundation secured organic certification with 23 villages of the Toubkal municipality, located in the province of Taroudant, on the south side of the High Atlas Mountains. This certification is for a 200 hectare area of walnuts and a 100 hectare area of almonds. It involved 693 farming families and is the first to have been secured for any product and in any part of the mountain region. Having vastly expanded the supply of walnut and almond product in the municipality through the planting of tree nurseries and with the increased value of the product enabled by organic certification, water-efficiency will create the opportunity to significantly expand the amount of arable land. 

The Ouray irrigation project, which will profoundly benefit 14 of the 23 villages, has been identified by the local people as their top priority initiative. The project diverts the water of a spring located 3,000 meters above the villages, along the summit of a mountain range. This will enable the building of new agricultural terraces on the entire face of the mountainside. Currently, the water from the spring produces 70 liters per second and goes straight down the mountain and into a river. The management of the water amongst the benefiting 14 villages, which includes approximately 3,500 people, has been agreed upon in recent months, has been a challenging yet productive process. 

We hope that you write to us for more information about this irrigation project which, combined with nurseries, organic certification, and the value-added processing facility, will create an agricultural boon for the region and a model for the nation. 

For more information, please contact

Taroudant Region (see image citation in report)
Taroudant Region (see image citation in report)

Greetings to all,

As many who are familiar with the High Atlas Foundation and its projects may know, HAF facilitates numerous agricultural projects within rural Moroccan communities. A key factor in the equation of these agricultural projects is water.

Currently in the Adare municipality of the Taroudant province, the trees covering the hilly landscape, all of which are almond, have not yet been organically certified, nor are they using water-efficient irrigation systems. HAF is working with the Adare village communities to change this by facilitating the planting an almond tree nursery--using the pressure drip irrigation system--upon land lent by their municipality throughout a 5 year period.  We are also working with local people to secure organic certification of their almond trees, which will approximately double the value of the product as compared with global organic prices. Averaging a yield of 100 tons of almonds per year, increasing the supply (via the nursery), the price, and water efficiency, will trigger agricultural transformations that will benefit approximately 1,000 farming families.

Once production gets underway, the Adare community will team up with HAF’s subsidiary social enterprise, HA3. Inaugurated in 2014, HA3 strives to build a green economy for rural Moroccan families through the marketing and sale of organic certified walnuts and almonds, such as those in Adare, grown in the Atlas Mountains.

Greater household income, along with new financing for human development projects--generated by HA3--will enable the people of Adare to reverse oppressive trends, especially the persistent non-attendance of girls in the municipality at a school level beyond the primary level. The people of Adare are dedicated to social change; this project builds upon their existing incredible opportunity, regarding their almond products, to achieve broad and sustainable social development in and around their community.

Adare has the spirit, the work-force, and the dedication: now they need the funds to kick-start this green and prosperous initiative. The HAF team knows that with the continued generous and numerous support from near and far, this goal can be achieved! The not-so-distant smell of freshly produced organic almonds is in the air- let’s get “cracking!”


The High Atlas Foundation Team



(Photo Citation:) 

Audley. Berber Village near Taroudant, Morocco. Digital image. Audley. Audley Travel, n.d. Web. 1 July 2015.

Moroccan Pavilion. Tafraout Almonds. Digital image. Moroccan Pavilion. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 July 2015.

Viault. Taroudant Maroc. Digital image. Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons, 26 Apr. 2010. Web. 1 July 2015.

Village in Taroudant(see image citation in report)
Village in Taroudant(see image citation in report)
Adare's Future Crop! (see image citation in report


Over the other side of the mountains from Tifnoute, the High Atlas Foundation is investing in irrigation infrastructure for two new nurseries this summer and fall. In partnership with the commune of Tnin Ourika and Yves Saint Laurent Beauté, the High Atlas Foundation is developing two nurseries on plots of land identified and donated by the community. The long-term objective of this project is to increase women's empowerment and economic self-sufficiency through the creation of a green economy, and will be implemented by monetizing the organic agriculture value chain and participatory training to women in the community.

In addition to planting 60,000 seeds, HAF will also train a minimum of 60 women from the community in cooperative creation and management, the participatory approach, organic agriculture, nursery management and maintenance, etc. These trainings, relying on experiential learning, will help women generate more income for their households, giving greater impact to the project objectives. The use of organic farming techniques helps generate value-added products that are green economy drivers for Morocco. As part of the training, HAF will guide women to identify their villages' top priority development projects, which will further promote women's empowerment.

The work will include plot development, terracing, stone removal, manure addition and installing barbed wire fences. To ensure proper management of natural water resources, nurseries will be equipped with a drip irrigation system connected to a well. Thereafter, the seeds (saffron, fruit trees, ricinus communis, aromatic and medicinal plants—determined by the community) will be sown.

The High Atlas Foundation is grateful for your generosity that allows us to pursue this and other participatory development projects like it throughout Morocco. It makes a tangible difference in communities we work in. Irrigation and the broader establishment of nurseries allow rural communities to empower themselves economically and learn about how they can participate in the new democratic framework of Morocco.

Organic walnuts being processed for export
Organic walnuts being processed for export


From the High Atlas Foundation Team, we wish a Happy New Year and best wishes for health and all good things.

Morocco’s model for human development creates enormous possibility for our participatory approach and organic agricultural value-chain, and for the entire region.

The High Atlas Foundation most humbly invites you to one or more symbolic tree planting ceremonies proposed for this planting season starting in January. 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. Starting from next month, we are scheduled to export to the United States 14 tons of organic certified walnuts from the High Atlas Mountains. In January 2014, HAF planted its one millionth seed in Morocco. With our full value chain in place, we may - Insha’Allah - achieve much greater scale.

In 2015, HAF and communities propose that together we plant a total of four million seeds and saplings of 12 types of fruit trees and more than 20 aromatic plant varieties - all of which may receive internationally recognized organic certification.

This can be achieved at a total cost of $2.5 million, with a resulting direct impact on 200,000 rural inhabitants and an indirect one benefiting a further 40,000. We hope with all our heart that we may receive your support to plant this season. Every dollar enabled HAF to plant its first million trees.

We thank you and wish you a wonderful day!



Workers shelling HAF-HA3 organic walnuts
Workers shelling HAF-HA3 organic walnuts


HAF nuts will soon be in the market
HAF nuts will soon be in the market

Good day and we hope all is well from the team here at the High Atlas Foundation.

As some of you may know, it is currently the nut harvest. What does that mean for the HAF team? It means we’re busy in the field, coordinating with local farmers, ensuring organic practices are upheld, setting-up the processing machines and getting ready to buy our first batch of organic nut product.

With this harvest, the HAF and its social enterprise HA3 teams are working to complete 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.

This is a very exciting and pivotal time for HAF, HA3 and most importantly the thousands of Moroccans this initiative will benefit. These organic, fair-trade, environmentally sustainable, and socially responsible products will empower rural Moroccans while simultaneously improving their access to clean drinking water and education through reinvestment.

The irrigation systems project is especially pertinent to the progress of HA3 as without proper water resource management, progress is reduced, or worse, harm could be done. Water management is the most essential portion of the food value chain that HAF and HA3 are facilitating farmers to capitalize upon. It is crucial that proper water management be developed in each and every nursery or orchard, which currently remains to be completed.

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.

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Organization Information

High Atlas Foundation

Location: New York, NY - USA
Project Leader:
Yossef Ben-Meir
President of the High Atlas Foundation
NYC, NY (US) and Marrakech, Al Haouz (Maroc), Morocco
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