The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) joined in the only Moroccan festival solely dedicated to celebrating nuts, a three-day festival held last Friday in Asni, a small village at the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains, south of Marrakesh. The weekend of music and markets celebrates the Asni walnut processing plant, located nearby, where about 40 local women process organic walnuts, extracting oil for food and cosmetics. To date, they’ve produced more than 6 tons of processed organic walnuts and 600 liters of organic walnut oil.
The factory is the first-ever organic nut-processing system in Morocco. Built by the Ministry of Agriculture and HAF, and co-managed with Idrarn Cooperative, partners who are pioneers in developing organic agriculture in Morocco.
Sales of their certified-organic products, both nationally and internationally, are the result of more than 15 years of HAF’s deep, community-driven investment. Local Moroccan farmers are accessing global markets. Increased profits help support community investment in education, and projects focused on water, women and youth.
As part of its commitment to the entire agricultural value chain, HAF also planted 1,320,000 fruit trees in community nurseries, schools, orchards throughout Morocco; provided experiential training for 3,000 people; and has helped established more than 20 cooperatives and associations.
The program success derives from consorted efforts with: Lucky’s Farmers Market, U.S. Department of State Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science, the High Commission of Waters and Forests, United Nations Development Program’s Global Environmental Fund, the National Endowment for Democracy, and many more.
The High Atlas Foundation, established in 2000, is a Moroccan-US NGO committed to assisting local Moroccan communities in identifying and implementing development projects through participatory planning. Founded by former Peace Corps Volunteers, the High Atlas Foundation currently facilitates projects including organic farming, clean drinking water, irrigation, educational development, participatory training, and political empowerment.
Learn more at the HAF website (link here).
Images from HAF