Africa / Middle East

U.N. Helps Moroccan Cooperative Boost Production Despite Drought

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has teamed up with a rural Moroccan cooperative in order to boost the local olive oil industry.

©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
Dec. 5, 2016
By Reda Atoui
©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano

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The Inter­na­tional Fund for Agri­cul­tural Devel­op­ment (IFAD), a body depen­dent of the United Nations Orga­ni­za­tion, has part­nered up with a rural Moroc­can coop­er­a­tive in order to pro­mote and boost the local olive oil indus­try. The results have been tremen­dous thus far despite the fact that the coun­try has been struck with a major heat wave recently.
See more: Com­plete Cov­er­age of the 2016 Olive Har­vest
The IFAD’s mis­sion is to pro­mote, mon­i­tor, and bet­ter agri­cul­tural devel­op­ment, mostly in emerg­ing coun­tries. The UNO-sub­si­dized body has been fac­ing increas­ingly tough chal­lenges in the past few years as cli­mate change has become an urgent, world­wide con­cern.

In fact, annual rain lev­els are expected to drop sig­nif­i­cantly dur­ing this cen­tury (the decrease would be between fif­teen and fifty-two per­cent) while global tem­per­a­tures are expected to rise, and might even reach never-seen-before lev­els. The IFAD has responded to those threats with mea­sures that it hopes will ensure that grow­ers do not suf­fer too much from cli­mate change.

Morocco has been hit with drought dur­ing the crit­i­cal sum­mer months, much like most of the world’s biggest olive oil pro­duc­ers. Italy and France, among oth­ers, have expe­ri­enced a dras­tic decrease in yield because of the rough cli­mate con­di­tions but that has not been the case for the grow­ers of Sidi Bad­haj.

Abde­latif El Badaoui is the head of the Amghras coop­er­a­tive, located South of Mar­rakech. He is also the leader of a team of young tech­ni­cians who help olive grow­ers through tech­ni­cal and sci­en­tific means. El Badaoui has joined efforts with the IFAD in order to lend a hand to the olive grow­ers of Sidi Bad­haj, a rural town not far from the Atlas Moun­tains.

El Badaoui’s plan of action has been three­fold. First, local grow­ers have been encour­aged to prune their trees. The process is cru­cial and allows for bet­ter fruit, and can even help make an aban­doned tree bear fruit again.

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The team of tech­ni­cians has shared their exper­tise with grow­ers regard­ing growth, pest pre­ven­tion, and har­vest mon­i­tor­ing which has made a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in the final out­put, both qual­i­ta­tively and quan­ti­ta­tively. More­over, more rel­e­vant irri­ga­tion sys­tems have been imple­mented; the effort has revealed itself to be wholly effec­tive.

©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano

All those ele­ments have rev­o­lu­tion­ized olive grow­ing in Sidi Bad­haj. In fact, and on aver­age, the grow­ers have been able to har­vest one hun­dred kilo­grams (120 Lbs.) of olives per tree, when last year’s har­vest was just twenty kilo­grams (44 Lbs.) of olives per tree.

The qual­ity of the oil made from those olives has improved, too. Local grow­ers have been encour­aged to take their olives for press­ing within twenty-four hours after har­vest at the lat­est instead of doing so dur­ing the two months that fol­low har­vest, as they were doing before.

The Inter­na­tional Fund for Agri­cul­tural Devel­op­ment (IFAD), a spe­cial­ized agency of the United Nations, was estab­lished as an inter­na­tional finan­cial insti­tu­tion in 1977 as one of the major out­comes of the 1974 World Food Con­fer­ence.

IFAD is ded­i­cated to erad­i­cat­ing rural poverty in devel­op­ing coun­tries. Sev­enty-five per­cent of the world’s poor­est peo­ple — 1.4 bil­lion women, chil­dren and men — live in rural areas and depend on agri­cul­ture and related activ­i­ties for their liveli­hoods.



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