Since mid-March 2021, Fert has been initiating new activities with almond producers in the Taza region of Morocco. This article looks back at Fert’s first steps to engage in proximity actions with farmers and their organizations.
For several months, the Fert team in Morocco (in partnership with the IECD) has been visiting the villages of the Taza district to meet the farmers. These meetings allow us to better understand the difficulties they are facing and to take an overview of agriculture and farming practices in the region. After these first exchanges, it appeared that the crop of almond trees was important for farmers but that their production and income were low.
Indeed, in Maghraoua and Galdamane, two communes in the district of Taza, a good number of farmers have diversified into almond crops thanks to the incentives of the Moroccan government’s planting program (Green Morocco Plan). But without specific technical knowledge, their almond production is low.
A first meeting on “technique” at the farm level
After meeting with several agricultural cooperatives, the Fert team was put in touch with farmers. Initially, technical support was offered to volunteer farmers, alone or in groups, always at the level of their orchards. For the end of April, the Fert team has been providing local technical advice to some 60 producers.
The first visits took place during the pest and disease control period, an opportunity for the agricultural advisor to focus on the sanitary state of the almond orchards. He made an initial visit to determine the problem in the orchards and find the appropriate treatment, in a participatory manner with the farmer or group of farmers.
This was followed by a series of visits to carry out the treatment by disseminating good practices. The technician will then return to the farmers to observe the result of the treatment and advise them on prevention methods for the next campaign.
Towards support at the collective level
The need for technical advice from almond producers is real. In a few weeks, the number of volunteer farmers has increased. Fert’s support could continue in groups by organizing demonstrations or by assisting them in group (or individual) purchases of inputs.
Support at the farm level is only a first step, and will gradually be introduced at a more collective level, particularly with cooperatives, to discuss other problems encountered by producers that are more easily resolved when they are organized collectively.