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Learning Route in Morocco

Posted by Greg Benchwick Friday, March 8, 2013

Meeting Successful Farmers’ Organizations 
After many Learning Routes in South America, Asia and East Africa, the first Learning Route in the MENA region has started on Monday 25th of February in Morocco. PROCASUR  has taken the opportunity to organize this route on Farmers´ Organizations (FOs), together with Karianet (www.karianet.org), ILEIA (www.ileia.org) and Diversity and Development (an international organization based in Morocco). 

In Morocco, Farmers’ Organizations play an important role in promoting rural development. The government’s development strategy is partially based on the experiences of successful FOs. The Learning Route will pass through the regions of Agadir, Taroudant and Mekès to visit three of them.

The first one has been ANCA, the National Association of women’s Cooperatives on Argan oil.
On Tuesday and Wednesday the ruteros had meetings with some of the members of ANCA´s bureau. Their presentations and discussions made clear that one of the biggest difficulties has been to convince men and women of the relevance of cooperatives. It took a long time before everyone saw the positive impact on income, women´s capacities and market access, but times seem to have changed now and there is general appreciation for the work of cooperatives.

On Tuesday the ruteros also went to visit the cooperative of Tamaynout. The women showed the different stages of argan oil production. After collection this starts with cracking the nuts, to acquire the almonds. These are roasted if they are being processed into consumption oil, this roating is not needed in case of cosmetic oil. Then the almonds are pressed into oil, filtered and packaged. Some cooperatives have their own machines for pressing and filtering, other cooperatives send it to their union which own the equipment.

The lessons of ANCA’s experience that the ruteros will take are very divers and provide many ideas for implementation back home. ‘I’m still dazzled with all the innovate practices that I have see here,’ said one of the ruteros, ‘this is such a rich experience!’

The participants of the route learned that governance structures and objectives at different levels of the organization, the valorization of women’s work at village level, the added value of processing, packaging and marketing are all elements that have contributed to the success of the cooperatives.

But also the social function of ANCA was very much appreciated: ANCA represents women and given visibility to women’s role in argan production.

The ruteros will work out their dazzling ideas and leave Morrocco with a concrete Innovation Plan to implement in their own countries. First they travel on the second case. We will keep you posted!

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