Meeting up in Errachidia
For the final project meeting from 18 to 21 June 2019, the fertiledatepalm partners met up again, almost three years after the project initiation, where everything started: in Errachidia, Morocco. Besides internal discussions, a stakeholder meeting was organized at the National Agency for the Development of Oases and Argan (ANDZOA) of Errachidia. Mostly representatives from different ministries were present, from the Regional Office of Agricultural Development of Tafilalet (ORMVAT), the Regional Chamber of Agriculture of Drâa-Tafilalet (CRA Drâa-Tafilalet) and the National Office of the Agricultural Council (ONCA) as well as representatives of the innovation platforms (IPs). After the presentation of the main project achievements of the last three years conducted in the region Tafilalet, focussing on the outcomes of field trials and the activities around the IPs, a discussion round was opened were the following topics were intensely discussed:
- Fertilization: compost versus manure and related problems such as bayoud disease
- Long-term effect of presented fertilization approaches: suggestion to install permanent plots as part of a long-term trial to get further evidence on effects
- Availability of presented bio-fertilizers
- Installation of the planned composting platform (collaboration project of the National Agricultural School of Meknès (ENA) and ANDZOA)
One main discussion point raised by the project team was the durability of the IPs beyond the project lifetime and the related involvement and support of the IPs by the local agencies. The engagement of farmers within the IPs was well recognized and appreciated by all participants. Thus, ANDZOA suggested the structure of IPs as a new approach for extension that need to be implemented at an institutional level and ONCA as most suited partner for its realization. Currently, stakeholders are elaborating propositions on future activities.
In addition to the stakeholder meeting, an IP assembly in Jorf was organized in order to present the outcomes of the stakeholder meeting to the farmers and to discuss the future of the IPs. All farmers expressed their positive experience being part of the IPs and strongly emphasized their wish to keep them running. They appealed to the representative of ANDZOA to continue the collaboration within the IPs and to find ways to make this possible.