(January 5, 2022 – Guercif, Morocco) The Al Khayr Women’s Cooperative with the support of the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) held the Opening Ceremony for a new fruit tree nursery in the village of Maskarat, Ras Al-Qasr, Guercif province on Wednesday, December 29, 2021.The Governor of the Guercif province, Mr. Hassan Belmahi, participated in the event and praised the initiative, which celebrated the inaugural tree planting season for which the new fruit tree nursery will provide trees to farmers throughout the region. Other officials from Oujda and the province of Guercif attended the event, which promoted sustainable development and the integration of women into the region’s agricultural sector.
Ms. Aisha Wifak, the president of the Al Khayr Cooperative, expressed her joy with the attendees, noting that the achievements being celebrated at the event are a testament to the efforts of local women after having experienced the Imagine self-empowerment workshop, which HAF, through the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program, facilitated in January 2020 for the benefit of the women to discover their capabilities and hone their leadership skills.
Ms. Aisha Wifak, the president of the Al Khayr Cooperative, with the Governor of the Guercif province, Mr. Hassan Belmahi, and High Atlas Foundation colleagues at the official opening of the organic fruit tree nursery (29 December 2021, HAF).
During the Imagine vision-building experience, the women decided to build and manage their own fruit tree nursery to serve the surrounding area and generate income for themselves and their families. Their goal came to fruition in January 2021 with support from HAF and funding from Ecosia, the German social enterprise, including the installation of greenhouses and a solar drip irrigation system. The F2F program provided technical capacity assistance, training the women of the cooperative in nursery building and management and business planning. In its first year, the nursery produced a total of 100,000 olive, carob, fig, and pomegranate trees.
The Guercif nursery is now among the 14 community-based fruit tree nurseries in eight provinces of Morocco that the High Atlas Foundation supports, together totaling 1.6 million saplings. These nurseries and the trees grown represent efforts to reverse climate change, enhance livelihoods, and contribute to overall sustainable development of the Kingdom, particularly its rural areas.
This tree planting season, which began in December 2021 and ends in March 2022, the High Atlas Foundation is collaborating with farming communities around Morocco to transplant 1 million fruit tree saplings from the 14 nurseries. For the first time, farmers in the Oriental region will receive trees grown from a HAF-supported nursery in their home region thanks to the efforts of the women of the Al Khayr Cooperative.
The fruit tree nursery in the village of Maskarat, Ras Al-Qasr, Guercif province, is managed by the Al Khayr Women’s Cooperative. (29 December 2021, HAF)