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Boukidar's Women Dairy Farmers: The Multifaceted Spectrum of Women's Feeling

byZineb Laadam
onDecember 3, 2023

"I bring my whole self to work every day on my farm. My emotions, my passion, and my determination they’re all part of what makes me excel in my work. When I feel supported and valued, I can move mountains. When I'm heard and respected, my work soars. Work isn't just about tasks; it's about the emotions and connections that drive us to achieve greatness," shares Lalla Malika, Member of the Boukidar Farmers Union.

The range of feelings experienced by women is as diverse as the women themselves. From empowerment and joy to frustration and fear, these emotions shape their journeys, resilience, relationships, and work.

Working with the women of Boukidar Farmers Union gave me the chance to explore this multifaceted landscape of women's emotions and the depth and diversity of what it means to feel as a woman. They are members of a union of dairy farmers formed in 2010 in Boukidar/Al Hoceima and were, up to the early 2020s, performing well. The group of women has been struggling marketing their products since the closure of ''Halib Riff Factory.''

Most of them experienced a decline in active membership, low productivity, low milk intake, low prices, delayed payments, and mismanagement. As a result, most of these women dairy farmers experienced a fall in income. Few women attempt to cross to Spain, while others prefer to stay in Riff rather than migrate.

When meeting the women of Boukidar Farmers Union for the first time, they created a positive and friendly impression even though they were dealing with a difficult situation. They aimed to properly restart their activity and benefit from a training workshop on milk processing techniques rather than selling raw milk.

These women are joining the ranks of 2500 others from around Morocco that have benefited from the women's empowerment that HAF has facilitated over the last years.

This time, in the IMAGINE empowerment workshop, women navigate a rich spectrum of feelings that shape their lives, relationships, and work. Their emotions were a complex and intricate terrain, reflecting the unique experiences, challenges, and triumphs that come with being a woman in today's world.

Looking at the women’s facial expressions and hearing their voice tones while they are talking about their work tells me a lot about their emotions.

On June 16th, HAF’s team launched the assignment for the benefit of the group of women and assigned the local volunteer to assist them by processing milk and converting it into high-value, concentrated, and easily transportable dairy products with long shelf-lives, such as butter, cheese, and ghee.

Fifty six women attended the training workshop. They possess priceless local knowledge, including a highly tuned sense of how to manage a farm with a particular agricultural ecosystem.


The HAF's F2F local volunteer Mr.Naoufal while delivering the training workshop on milk processing techniques. Photo Credit: HAF/ F2F

For the successful running of their dairy farm, the local volunteer - Ms. Aouatif - delivered another training workshop for low cost dairy management, green/dry fodder production, management of animal health and compost farming specifically.

Almost all of these women dairy farmers, by the nature of what they do, have what it takes to practice composting: surplus plant material, animal manure, access to land, space to compost, equipment already on site, crops and soil that can benefit from a compost amendment.

Some of them use all their own compost on site, while others wanted to professionally practice the on-farm composting and sell it as an additional farm activity.


The HAF’s F2F local volunteer Aouatif with the women of Boukidar farmers union while visiting a model farm to test the quality of compost. Photo Credit: HAF/ F2F

Processing of dairy products and compost farming will give these small-scale women dairy producers in Al Hoceima province higher cash incomes and will offer better opportunities to reach regional and urban markets. Milk processing can also help them to deal with seasonal fluctuations in milk supply.

The dairy and compost farming can benefit entire communities in Al Hoceima province by also generating off-farm jobs in milk collection, transportation, processing, and marketing as well as the effects of the on-farm composting can improve the function of fine textured clay and silt soils and coarse textured sandy soils in farmers lands in the Boukidar municipality in Al Hoceima province.

"Work isn't just about what I do; it's about how it makes me feel. When my work aligns with my feelings, every day is a joy, and success is a natural by-product,” Fatima expressed at the very end of this journey-work.

It is essential to recognize and honor the complexity of women's emotions, and in doing so, we can better support their well-being and advancement. Ultimately, by embracing and celebrating the full spectrum of women's feelings, we empower them to continue shaping more effective work.