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Al-Haouz: The High Atlas Foundation Inaugurates the Solar Irrigation System in the Akrich Nursery

Written by MAP Ecology in Arabic
Translated into English by Kaoutar Ait Lahaj, HAF Program Coordinator

The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) celebrated the inauguration of a solar irrigation system in the Akrich nursery in the rural commune of Tamslouht, Al-Haouz province. The nursery produces seedlings intended for later distribution to regional farmers and schools.

The new irrigation system via solar photovoltaic is a donation from the National Federation of Electricity, Electronics and Renewable Energies (FENELEC), while the land housing the nursery is a contribution from the Jewish community in Morocco.

The inauguration ceremony, which took place in strict compliance with the health protocol in force to stop the spread of the pandemic of the coronavirus (COVID-19), was attended by members of the Board of Directors of FENELEC, representatives of the Jewish community of Morocco, and local authorities.

“This system will allow us to reduce the cost of pumping irrigation water, contribute to the development of clean energies, and ensure sustainable development for this nursery. Since its opening in 2013, around 180,000 almond, fig, pomegranate, and lemon tree seedlings have been distributed to nearly 1,000 farmers and 130 schools,” said the President of the Foundation, Yossef Ben-Meir, in a statement to MAP.

Dr. Ben-Meir, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco (1993-1995) noted that this House of Life project is an innovative initiative facilitating the free loan of land adjoining Jewish burial sites and that it establishes tree nurseries and organic medicinal plants for neighboring Muslim farming communities. He welcomed the commitment of the various partners to ensure the initiative’s success in aiming to plant one billion fruit trees and aromatic and medicinal plants across the Kingdom.

For his part, the Director of FENELEC, Mr. Ali El Harti, expressed the pride of the Federation to be associated with this project of the High Atlas Foundation by offering solar pumping systems, including pumps, solar panels, control cabinets, drip systems, and more.

“We are extremely delighted to have participated in this project, which contributes to the socio-economic development of farming communities in Morocco, and we are ready to take part in similar projects in the future,” commented Mr. El Harti.

As part of The House of Life initiative, the  Akrich nursery is the first to be developed around a 700-year-old Jewish cemetery where the tomb of revered Rabbi Raphael HaCohen is located.

This site is one of the many plots of land loaned to HAF over the years by various stakeholders, including individuals, public bodies, municipalities, schools, cooperatives, women’s associations, and cultural organizations, notably the Jewish community of Marrakech-Essaouira.

Since 2000, the High Atlas Foundation has contributed to human development through education and environmental protection.

Based in Marrakech with representations in Oujda and Boujdour, the HAF manages a dozen nurseries distributed between Taza, Fès, Meknes, Marrakech, Ouarzazate, Tadmamt, and Taroudant.

In 2014, HAF launched its “Campaign for a Billion Trees” to continue and accelerate its successful project of planting one million trees with the new aim of planting one billion such trees and plants throughout Morocco.

The species planted are indigenous, and the nurseries are managed entirely organically by the local communities. Trees are part of a larger chain that includes securing organic certification, strengthening cooperatives, and processing and delivering products to markets.

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