The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Morocco has signed a financial deal to improve the living conditions of rural people in mountain areas and reduce poverty by 30 percent by 2030.
The Atlas Mountains Rural Development Project will benefit 182,000 people in 18 rural communes in the provinces of Ouarzazate, Tinghir and Beni Mellal. The total project investment is $61.3 million, including a $45.1 million IFAD loan and a $1.4 million grant. The project is cofinanced by the Government of Morocco ($13.6 million) and by the beneficiaries themselves ($1.2 million).
The financial agreement was signed in Rome by Michel Mordasini, Vice-President of IFAD and Morocco’s Ambassador to Italy, Hassan Abouyoub.
In Morocco, the agricultural sector remains key for national macro-economic stability and economic and social development. Provinces located in mountainous areas are among the poorest, due to devastating floods and prolonged droughts from the impact of climate change, the high illiteracy rate and lack of access to financial services.
The project will focus on areas that are prone to extreme effects of climate change and socio-economic vulnerability and where there are poverty hotspots.
“Through this project, IFAD aims to also benefit landless people, women-headed households and youth to revitalize rural areas and limit rural exodus. It aims at achieving essential developmental impacts through income-generating activities, irrigation, the adoption of improved farming techniques and value chain development,” said Naoufel Telahigue, Country Programme Manager at IFAD.
The project incorporates a number of innovations, especially through a shift towards a value chain approach for products, such as saffron and cherries, to improve storage, processing and transformation technologies. In addition, it will introduce innovative implementation tools (field schools and business schools) and promote conservation agriculture.
The project will also promote South-South and Triangular Cooperation by sharing with sub-Saharan African countries the Moroccan experience in smallholder agriculture and value chain development.