We are in the process of upgrading software and the SDN website will be temporarily unavailable for a few hours on Monday morning EST. Once the software is upgraded, this notice will no longer appear and the site will be back to normal. We apologize for any inconvenience.
  • Image 1 of 9

Agroforestry empowers Morocco’s mountain women

Monica Pelliccia | Morocco

Organization: Mongabay

Suisi Rehia, 85, member of Femmes Du Rif, walks in her parcel. Here, she grows centenary olive trees (Olea europaea) with figs (Ficus carica), carobs (Ceratonia siliqua), and annual crops planted in rotation, including chickpeas, fava beans, wheat, and livestock forage.
She is part of the Jebala (“mountain”) people who have long practiced this traditional agroforestry system, where annual crops are grown in close association to help them thrive and survive drought.

Aïm Beïda village, Ouezzane Province, Morocco. Image by Monica Pelliccia for Mongabay.

Suisi Rheia was checking the olives on a tree in front of the Femmes du Rif cooperatives huilerie. It was already mid-November 2018, but some fruits were still green or purple, not ready for the harvest due to too much rain after a drought period. In the Rif, Morocco’s northernmost mountains, the climate is more unstable than ever.

Since ancient times, Morocco’s mountain people have grown olives in agroforestry systems. As Femme du Rif have done: olive, fig, and carob trees prevent erosion and provide cover for vegetables, and fruit that grow below, which has provided better harvests. Thus, agroforestry helps counteract climate change, supports biodiversity, builds soil horizons and water tables and sequesters 45 gigatons of carbon from the atmosphere globally.

Femmes du Rif have boosted the value of the 328 members’ olive oil, leading to social impacts ranging from better education for their children and even promotion of members to national political positions. As Fatima Habboussi, a Femmes du Rif member. In 2015, she became the first woman elected to the Moroccan parliament after serving on the Regional Chamber of Agriculture committee.

This photo essay is part of Mongabay’s ongoing series on agroforestry worldwide.



Content loading...

Make Comment/View Comments