22 November 2012

Morocco: Rhamna Province - Strong Royal Will to Make Agriculture a Lever for Economic and Social Development

Rhamna  — The interest HM King Mohammed VI takes in promoting agriculture has, once again, been given concrete substance through the agricultural projects launched, Thursday, by the Sovereign in Rhamna Province aimed at providing balanced, sustainable development in the region.

HM the King has given strong impetus to "the Green Plan" in the region with the launch of the 2013 programme relating to projects implemented as part of the second component of the Plan in the province.

The three-year programme (2013-2015) provides for intensifying and developing pomegranate in particular by planting 1,000 ha of pomegranate trees, fitting land with the drip-irrigation system and setting up a pomegranate development unit.

The programme, worth more than 101 million dirhams, also consists of developing red meat industry by expanding pastoral cultures (5,000 ha), building 12 water points and providing technical support to small farmers.

The programme is consistent with efforts to ensure optimal implementation of the Green Plan, which has contributed to improving income and living conditions of thousands of farmers, developing efficient agriculture adapted to the rules of the market and strengthening solidarity-based agriculture.

Moreover, five projects have already been launched under the second component of the Plan, worth 267.3 million dirhams. These projects benefit 12,715 farmers and span on 52,100 ha.

They consist of developing cactus cultivation, intensifying cumin culture, promoting beekeeping, modernizing and strengthening red meat industry, in addition to an integrated agricultural development project.

As regards the first component of the Plan, three projects, worth over 385 million dirhams, were implemented in Rhamna province. Benefiting nearly 900 aggregates, these projects consist of developing cactus, aggregating several breeders in a cheese production unit, and promoting egg production.

HM the King visited an exhibition of local agricultural products and launched a project to support small farmers with agricultural machinery.

The equipment, which consists of 168 agricultural machinery, will help small farmers who own less than 10 hectares, to carry out ploughing and tillage in the best conditions. The 14.2 million dirham initiative will enable to exploit 20,000 hectares each year and will benefit about 2,000 farmers.

The Sovereign visited the pilot farm "Jnane Rhamna" which spans on 624 hectares. The farm consists of olive trees and fruit trees (citrus, grenadines), and has the most state-of-the-art irrigation and water saving technology.

With a total investment of 122.2 million dirhams, "Jnane Rhamna" aims at producing, by 2017, 13,000 tonnes of citrus and 2,200 tonnes of olives, in addition to creating more than 240 permanent jobs.

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