On April 10th, United States Ambassador to Morocco, Thomas Riley, visited a High Atlas Foundation fruit tree agriculture project outside of Marrakech that was supported by the Ambassador’s Empowerment Fund of the United States Embassy in 2005. The project planted 7,000 fruit trees (cherry, apple, prune, and peach) to advance the socio-economic and environmental conditions of villages in the Province of Al Haouz.
Ambassador Riley, joined representatives from the High Atlas Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to visit the village of Tororde where they saw two fruit tree orchards funded by the project and discussed the benefits and challenges of fruit tree agriculture with members of the Tororde Association and local farmers. This project was implemented in partnership with Marrakech21 Foundation and the Regional Direction of Waters and Forests, with villages in the rural commune of Ouirgane in the Province of Al Haouz, which neighbors Toubkal National Park. Joining Ambassador Riley was the Governor of the Province of Al Haouz, Mr. Bouchaib El Moutaouakil, as well as elected officials, representatives from the Regional Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Regional Direction of Waters and Forests.
After his visit, Ambassador Riley thanked the community of Tororde for their hospitality and spoke of the long-standing friendship and collaboration that exists between Morocco and the United States, saying, “Our two countries have been friends for many years and we look forward to continuing to work together for the benefit of the rural Moroccan people.” He cited numerous projects supported in the region by the High Atlas Foundation, USAID, the Peace Corps, and the United States Embassy in Rabat, and his hope for continued partnerships in the years ahead.
Since 2003, the High Atlas Foundation has planted over 140,000 fruit trees in Morocco, benefiting 23,000 rural people in six provinces. In June 2006, the organization launched a special campaign to plant one million fruit trees with rural Moroccan communities.