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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

FAO Director-General visits Family Farming Project in Morocco

Graziano da Silva meets local officials and farmers to discuss the challenges they face

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva meeting with members of the Zaouia Agricule Cooperative in a field visit to an olive plantation project.

15 December 2014, Marrakech – FAO’s Director General José Graziano da Silva has visited a project aimed at boosting the production of olives and olive-oil in Morocco. During the visit he met local officials and farmers to discuss some of the challenges facing their agricultural sector.

Situated near Marrakech, the project has applied the approach developed by FAO in this region in 2005 to support the Rain-fed Rural Development Programme in Morocco. The project visited is a large scale practical application by the Government of Morocco of the FAO approach.

The project has benefited  local communities enabling them to experience rapid improvement in their production systems and especially in small scale irrigation perimeters. As a result, family farmers  can continue to benefit from income-generating activities.

The project is part  the implementation of the Plan Maroc Vert to develop olives tree in the province of d’ Al Haouz.

The FAO Director-General was met by the Provincial Director of Agriculture of Marrakech and a group of farmers who described the various project activities. They explained that some 710 oil producers are cultivating an area of about 2000 hectares which is being transformed from cereal to olive production use, including the planting of new trees and processing of fruit to get oil.

The project consists of a total investment of 35.61 million MAD. This has been used in part to buy five trituration units for oil production, finance value chain studies including the commercialization and marketing of oil, as well as artisanal handy crafts.

Graziano da Silva, in his address, congratulated the farmers for their work in making the project sustainable and for involving more and more young people among its beneficiaries. This, according to the FAO Director-General, represents a way to prevent people from abandoning rural areas in the hope of finding better lives in cities or even migrating abroad - an endeavor which often lives at risk.

The farmers present explained to the FAO Director-General some of the challenges they are facing, including successive years of drought, but also the lack of resources to enable them to tackle the various diseases that threaten their crops and prevent them from improving productivity.

The farmers invited the FAO Director-General to share a meal with them in recognition of the support FAO has given to their communities.