Last week, HAF’s team members managing the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer program in Morocco visited three potential host organizations in the Youssoufia province, in order to conduct participatory needs assessments and prepare new assignments for the agricultural expert volunteers, great opportunities are presented to discuss project priorities and ideas by members to advance the growth of their cooperatives.
The first visit was to the Amal Ouled Maachou Cooperative. They collect and sell cow milk to a major national company called. The cooperative was established in 2003 with 40 members. Now they are 168 members and they have a waiting list of 40 more prospective members. They currently sell milk to one client and they grow fresh grass to enhance the nutrition of their cattle (a pilot project feeding 12 cows). They seek to diversify their customers. They also want to employ family members in producing dairy products; especially cheese using cow and goat milk. A participatory meeting helped us identify their priority needs in diversifying their products and customers, and building a water well, which a F2F Volunteer can help to assist.
The second host is Nour Tiamim Agricultural Cooperative and has five members who produce organic cumin, lentils, and fenugreek (or Greek clover). The president explained that they are building a new space to produce cumin within the food inspector’s regulations. The third host is a private poultry farm founded by three youth (men), with two large chicken houses. They are working to minimize diseases and maximize yield, and improve their marketing – and would like to benefit from technical support in these areas.
The Farmer-to-Farmer team gathered the important information during this field visit, and that will clearly help to start developing new assignments for the upcoming Volunteers.