Women are 80% of the population in the semi-arid Commune of Ait Wafqa, outside Tafraoute in southern Morocco. They manage their family farms and most of the associations in the area, since men left to seek employment in urban areas and abroad. This project will plant 10,000 olive trees and install pressure/drip systems to irrigate them. Currently faced with significant land degradation and poverty, the rural women and children will benefit both economically and environmentally from this project.
Eighty-five percent of rural Moroccan households earn less than the national average. The low market-value of traditional staples barley and corn (grown on approximately 70 percent of Moroccan farmland, yet generating a mere 10-15 percent of agricultural revenue) has compelled farmers to transition to plant cash-crops, most commonly fruit trees, to generate significantly greater income.
This project in the Ait Wafqa commune of Tiznit province is to plant 10,000 olive trees, irrigated by pressure/drip systems and powered by a solar water pump - transforming approximately 12 hectares into arable, agriculturally productive land. The project will be implemented and managed by the Ait Wafqa women's association, in partnership with the Communal Council. Women will receive experiential training in maintaining the trees and the irrigation system, and in project management.
This project integrates solutions to socio-economic and environmental challenges facing rural Moroccan families. The project: 1) increases multifold the average household incomes and creates employment; 2) strengthens the environment both by conserving water and by planting olive trees that will prevent soil erosion and desertification; 3) develops the technical skills of farmers; and 4) strengthens democratic processes.