New project encourages technical improvements that benefit small-scale farmers
Oujda, Morocco (January 15, 2012) – In Morocco’s dry and primarily agricultural Oriental region, it is a struggle to find a means to make a living.
Mimoun, a 35 year-old man from a modest family in the village of Aghbal, lives in the regional province of Berkane. After completing his primary education, Mimoun was unsure how he could use his knowledge to contribute, so he had never been an active participant in his community.
In early 2011, the Near East Foundation began working in Mimoun’s village on the USAID-funded Agricultural Water Management project.
In 20 communities throughout Morocco’s Oriental region, the project promotes more efficient and productive use of agricultural water by providing training, technical assistance, and pilot projects to introduce more profitable, water-efficient crops and farming practices.
Since the project launched, participating farmers have devoted more time to irrigation management, and more energy to mentoring young farmers – who play a vital role in agriculture and the community. Project activities are designed to engage young farmers, including sessions on how to mobilize a community, attracted Mimoun and he immediately became involved in the project.
As a result of his work with the project, Mimoun decided to take a more active management role in his family’s agricultural land. He also joined the local association that manages agricultural water usage. Mimoun completed training programs organized by the project, where he learned about watershed management and technical cultivation skills.
Mimoun now manages a half-hectare of land irrigated by a spring and a five hectare area of land irrigated by a well. Like others who have attended trainings, he has increased production and improved revenues using his new cultivation techniques.
“Before, I was using the agricultural techniques passed down from my relatives,” Mimoun said. “Now, thanks to the AWM project, I have more experience with cultivation techniques, I am more active and I feel more determined to move forward, and to improve my production.”
Mimoun is one of many young farmers who have become a force of change within their communities as a result of the leadership and technical training supported by USAID.
The Near East Foundation is a U.S.-based international development NGO leading innovative social and economic change in the Middle East and Africa. Founded in 1915, NEF has worked to empower citizens in disadvantaged, vulnerable communities for almost 100 years. NEF field staff – all of them from the countries in which they work – partner with local organizations to find grassroots solutions to their development challenges. Our comprehensive “knowledge, voice, and enterprise” approach is helping build more prosperous, inclusive communities throughout the region. To learn more visit www.neareast.org
This report is made possible by the generous support of the American people through theUnited States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of the Near East Foundation and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.