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The Women Farmers of Tassa Ouirgane Nursery: From Seeds to Saplings

bySanae Benaadim
onNovember 24, 2020

HAF Office Manager & Volunteer Coordinator

Caption: High Atlas Foundation, Tassa Ouirgane Nursery

“Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.”
-Kahlil Gibran

I always believed that trees are the source of life for humans. HAF encourages the Moroccan community to plant trees and invest in their empty lands by providing people with 1 million organic trees in Morocco in 2020. You may be wondering where the trees come from. Who is taking care of these trees? And what is the process of growing them?

On November 9, a team from HAF, consisting of Program Coordinator Hajiba, Mr. Hicham, Tree Planting Trainer, HAF Driver Lahcen, HAF’s Driver, and I headed to Tassa Ouirgane village (in Al Haouz province, Marrakech-Safi region). The purpose of the field trip was to visit HAF’s nursery there. Mr. Hicham delivered a workshop to one woman and five girls about how to plant seeds properly, as they are the nursery caretakers. He described to them step-by-step how to plant Carob seeds:

  1. First of all, the seeds should soak in warm water for 24 hours in a covered pot.
  2. Then, we remove the water and let the seeds dry for another 24 hours in the same spot.
  3. After that, we prepare a mixture of soil and dust, then add the seeds.
  4. We let this germinate for three days, each in a pot filled with earth.

Then, we take good care and water the seeds daily to grow them into saplings.

Caption: High Atlas Foundation, Tassa Ouirgane Nursery, Evaluation of Saplings.

The nursery caretakers had originally benefited from the Imagine Women’s Empowerment Program. Amina El Hajjami, HAF’s Director of Projects, conducted a workshop for fourteen women in Tassa Ouirgane over the course of four days in 2019. HAF then supported the women to create Takhrkhourt Cooperative, an agricultural cooperative whose membership includes the one woman and four girls who are now the caretakers of the nursery. They have started their nursery by planting 40,000 trees in 2020: olive, carob, fig, walnut, and pomegranate. The ladies are happy to work in the nursery daily, having created their own work environment around shared thoughts. In sharing their thoughts on the experience with me, Malika, a member of the cooperative, said: “We received all the support from Amina and HAF. We have a chance to prove ourselves and earn an income.”

Caption: High Atlas Foundation, Tassa Ouirgane Nursery, Training for nursery caretakers.

HAF’s tree planting and monitoring team has assessed the main challenges that the woman and four girls face daily in order to facilitate the healthy growth of their cooperative. For example, they are working together to gain full access to water for the nursery.They also aim to build a small room to keep their materials.

The ladies of Takhrkhort Cooperative have a vision based on working at the nursery. They are looking forward to preparing 40,000 saplings for the local community by the next planting season. HAF is honored to support them as the Foundation works hard to get ready for the distribution of one billion trees in 24 Moroccan provinces starting from December 15.