This campaign generates greater income and uplifts farming communities out of poverty by planting high-quality organic fruit trees. The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) and cooperatives raise the trees in community-managed nurseries and then distribute them to farmers and schools throughout Morocco. The project helps build the skills of farmers in growing trees and monitoring them as they grow. The fruit varieties include almond, argan, carob, cherry, date, fig, olive, pomegranate, and walnut.
Farmers are compelled by market forces to transition from growing the traditional staples of barley and corn. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, these staples are grown on 70% of agricultural land, yet account for only 10-15% of agricultural revenue. This condition creates enormous demand on fruit trees. There are near complete losses of endemic varieties of fig, carob, and date. Morocco is experiencing alarming levels of erosion, desertification, and vulnerability to climate change.
Land for nurseries is lent in-kind by the High Commission of Waters and Forests, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Moroccan Jewish Community, universities, and cooperatives. Communities identified this project a priority during participatory meetings and determined the tree varieties in the campaign. Trees are monitored via GPS coordinates and maps are constructed and shared with partners. Farmers plant and maintain the trees, and are the sole beneficiaries of the income.
Fruit tree planting launches the transformational change in rural Morocco, where the majority of poverty is concentrated. The program and its partnerships also incorporate creating community-managed value-added enterprises of raw products, securing organic certification, installing irrigation infrastructure to maximize water efficiency, building local technical skills, seizing trade opportunities, and strengthening cooperatives to manage sustainable agriculture and reinvest in human development.