By Lisa Maria Wiese, HAF intern
15 January, 2016
The almond is a precious fruit that can be enjoyed on its own, in a cake, and even for luxurious crèmes. The production of the very tasty and equally healthy fruit of the almond tree requires many steps, but the reward is well worth it in the end. On Wednesday, as a new intern at the High Atlas Foundation, I made my first trip into the Atlas, to a village in the Ourika Valley to learn more about almond production.
I had a delightful and breathtaking impression of the mountains, and all the colourful villages along the Oued Ourika river. The reason for our trip from the regional HAF Marrakech office to the agriculture cooperative project in Ourika was an exciting one– a training for the women of Aboghlo Women’s Cooperative who, with the help of Si Omar, learned all about the growth and production of almond trees.
In Ourika, we picked up a group of twenty-eight women who were as excited as we were to go to the place where the training took place. It was a little field in the village Asgune close to the river. It was a very hands-on training and the women could try every step of the process on their own, were eager to learn, and were asking many questions, vital in the involvement in the almond process.
Morocco is one of the leading countries in the world in almond production, but there is still room for growth and much can be done so that communities in the rural areas can benefit from their own agricultural capacities to the fullest extent.
It was a fantastic experience to witness the potential of cooperatives for sustainable agriculture and how this can benefit the society and ecosystem these projects are found in. Visiting the cooperative in Ourika inspired me to examine the hard work behind each product, instead of focusing on the final stage as we are too often guilty of doing.