Construction of a pilot Agroecology farm

Since 2006 in southern Morocco, CARI has been involved in protecting and preserving the oasis to fight poverty through the development of agro-ecological techniques. In 2012, the association sets up a project to safeguard the Jorf oasis. This project lasted four years and preceded in two phases (the first from September 2012 to 2014 and the second from December 2014 to March 2016), covering three different areas. The first one was made up of the palm plantation of Jorf and included the partner farm and their neighbours, a second zone included the palm plantations bordering on Fezna, Achoria, Anabou, Bouya and Lakhiere and a third zone included the sites beyond the oasis of Jorf.

Context and problems of the Jorf oasis

Jorf is a Moroccan oasis located in the semi-arid plain of Tafilalet, in the south of the town comma Errachidia. This arid region is characterised by a very weak pluviometry (between 50 and 150 mm per year and the temperatures oscillating between 0 and 50°C. The progressive disappearance of conditions favourable to agricultural exploitation of the oases involves a degradation of the environment for the local populations and a fall of their incomes which has become the problem today. Nevertheless, the Jorf oasis, now weakened and threatened by a water deficit and sand build up, remains an oasis full of life, with a strong agricultural production and dynamic local associations. Its safeguarding and development are essential.

The project

The project took place in two phases performed successively. The first was related to the support of an existing farm of a partner farmer, so that it could become a demonstration and transmission space of these practices.

During these first two years, the work done allowed us to develop the production site towards agroecological practices. Assistance undertaken by the CARI team and other external stakeholders focused partly on soil fertility management, market-gardening practices, natural plant health competition, arboriculture, equipment for solar power and animal power tools for ground work.

The training took place partly on the farm. In parallel, the partner farmer some of them for other farmers. He also welcomed students, academics and media representatives on this "farm school", to more widely spread the principles of Agroecology. These training sessions tackled various subjects such as the size of olive-trees, rotation management, preparation of natural pesticides and the use of the medicinal and aromatic plants (WFP), animal haulage and the use of kassine (general-purpose tool intended to work the ground thanks to animal haulage), conservation and the seed multiplication or even agroecology principles.

The second phase follows on from the first while being based on the farm and the acquisition of the partner farmer to more widely circulate the concepts of ecological agriculture.

The aim of the activities was therefore to continue training on the partner farm, to support the farmers close to the project, which is a hub for agroecological approaches, to extend the project's area of ​​action thanks to the partnership with. AOFEP, Moroccan focal point of RADDO (of which CARI is coordinator) and with AJADD, Jorf's new association for sustainable development.

Other topics were covered during the training, for example bee-keeping, farming  of the date palm in agroecology, control of ovine breeding, techniques of market-gardening and operating a co-operative. The action zone was also wide: the farmers of Has Said, Figuig, Izilf, El khorbat el bour, Fezna and the village of Taghia could thus profit from the training.

Since 2012, this project has been carried out thanks to the support of:

Methodology work on agroecologic transition

The project could thus truly contribute to the emergence of new practices within the Jorf oasis and more widely promote the concept of agroecology in several places in the area. There are 36 training courses which were delivered throughout this project and which reached more than 400 people with a high level of satisfaction (higher than 7/10 for all of the training sessions). For the continuity of the project, a work methodology to support the transition in oasis agro-ecology has begun. This work is based on the Jorf project experience, but also on the experience of the CARI in other oasis regions. Its purpose is to guide the agroecological transition accompanied by technical tools as well as a collection of technical fact sheets destined for CARI teams, trainers and farmers associated with these steps.

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