The Train as an Agricultural Development Metaphor

Written by: Badr – CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer
Date: May 15, 2015

2015-05-01 17.07.41I have noticed for years a big Moroccan agricultural program, it is called  “Green Morocco” in which farming is heavily subsidized, funded by 6 billion Euro for five years since 2000, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. The Moroccan government helps farmers. Since I’m serving in agricultural region, I thought it would be better to focus on agriculture and find a suitable link with the programs the Ministry of Agriculture already supports, even give financial benefits in all sorts of projects from farming to all kinds of meat and food production.

After our CorpsAfrica/Maroc In-Service Training which took place in Marrakesh, and after we delivered our sites presentations, the staff members of CorpsAfrica noticed our interests in agriculture. Hence, they decided to give us, the volunteers, the opportunity to visit the Moroccan 10th International Agricultural Exhibition-Fair, that is held in Meknes, the olive capital with Spanish-moorish style.

The exhibition was on 17,2  hectares, outside the outstanding monumental and voluminous ramparts.  A lot of people were at the place, and plenty of display galleries. Representatives of the Moroccan National Agricultural Institutes, have their own galleries and workshops.

DSCN1203Simply, a huge amount of themes and informations, that made me think, and asking what? and how? I could combine, the governmental support on agriculture and rural rehabilitation, with my agricultural site.

I was roaming the fair with my friend Mourad, wearing a round traditional rural hat, some people asked for my hat to take a picture with. They thought I’m wearing it as a style, even a manager of soil workshop, commented on my hat:

“Your hat is not enough to show me that you are working in agriculture” the man said, he explained that we need to carry with us our CorpsAfrica/Maroc brochures, including pictures of implementing previous projects, to show we have a relation with agriculture.

After hours approaching the galleries at the fair, and talking with people who ran them, I came out with a clear idea.

If I couldn’t conclude my visit with at least a simple idea that can help agriculture in a specific place, the fair was probably just a place to boast about achievements and  numbers, the biggest agricultural exhibition in Africa, based on the numbers of the countries that were participating.

I went to look for the manager of the gallery that was set to present the region I’m serving in. The representative was an agricultural engineer. He was cheerful, and eager to set different programs names and strategies; phrases that were so ambiguous and can’t shed a light on my road. He was talking about numbers that exceeded the ministry objectives with his big smiles on his face, one bigger than the first one.

DSCN1130He sum up his presentation: “Agriculture in Morocco is growing, and this agricultural development has been going on since years, because of the Majesty the King’s determination and hard work, and because of God’s will” and the man said. “Hallelujah!”

The man seemed to me from his talking he was training to be politician more than someone participating in agricultural rehabilitation.

The second man was responsible for explaining the soil component and how they check soil and well waters at their labs. I and my friend explained the issues of our communities’ water. For me the question was how we can use salty water that all my community wells have sufficiently to grow crops without letting the salt harm the fertility of the land. My friend Mourad wants a free possibility to check the components of water spring at his community to know if it’s drinkable or not.

By sudden, he man bent his head towards us and said:DSCN1239

“Honestly, let this stay between us, don’t knock official institutes doors. If you are looking for something, you can only depend on yourself.”

After a while, a two foreign visitors approached the man’s workshop, then he forgot that he talking to us, he didn’t even offer an excuse to finish our talking. He turned toward the foreign couple with a smile and he started repeating his presentation in French.

I left from the exhibition with two plastic bags, full of brochures, pamphlets, leaflets, business cards. I haven’t checked all the paper advertisements yet. The wheat harvesting season have started in my region three weeks ago. The balance of supply and demand.

2015-05-08 12.41.39

Is the governmental agricultural policy effective?

Does the law really protect the national product, as they say?

These are the elements I’m going to talk about in my next blog.

Participating in the development train by dropping a comments below.       

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