Moroccan Kingdom Drives Opportunities for Youth in Farming  

Agricultural Cooperatives, Morocco

Unemployment is a growing issue in Morocco, particularly in agricultural areas. With social issues and wage gaps on the rise, a report from Morocco’s High Commission for Planning shows over 1,168 people have been unemployed in 2018 alone. To address this issue, King Mohammed VI has begun implementing new systems for change. One of the latest developments are agricultural cooperatives aimed at inspiring Morocco’s youth to re-engage in agriculture. Some of these cooperatives are located in Morocco’s Al Haouz province in the Marrakesh- Safi region. Supporting them is the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Moroccan government.

In an interview with Africa News, President of the Touffaha cooperative expressed how important the cooperatives are for teaching new farming techniques. “In the past, our parents used to handle tree growth in an ineffective way, randomly. They planted apple trees, but they earned nothing.”

The new social impact project is breathing life into the farming system and offers hope to youth who previously left their villages for better opportunities. “Before joining this cooperative, I was working in the city…I left the village. When I got a call from my friends that the cooperative was being informed I came back,” said Brahim Laaouina, a member of the Agadir Igoudar cooperative. The cooperative currently involves nearly 33,000 smallholder farmers and herders.

“If we could replicate this project, in my opinion, young people would find themselves in the fabric of the economy and they could breathe new life and boost agriculture in the mountain areas and through them, the mountain areas will become a source of wealth creation instead of an area of poverty and unemployment”, says Abdellah Mendili, Marrakech’s Provincial Director of Agriculture

Currently, some farmers are struggling with making a living and evening looking to travel abroad for work. On September 11, 2019, hundreds of Moroccan gathered around a youth center in Taraoudant when they heard Morocco’s National Agency for Employment and Skills was providing chances for Moroccans to bid for job contracts in France. Candidates between 25 and 45 can apply for citrus fruit picking contracts. “The situation is weak in Morocco, I came to see if I will get a chance to travel to work,” said one of the bidders. Like hundreds of others, he is hoping to secure a better work opportunity.

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