Technicians Advise Olive Farmers in Rural Morocco

Standing amid rows of healthy fava bean plants, El Badaoui Abdelatif explains how his team of young technicians has helped farmers in rural Sidi Badhaj, at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, grow more olives - and earn more money - despite a drying climate.

Pruning, the use of electronic equipment and more precise irrigation have increased yields from 20 kg (44 lb) per tree to 100 kg or more. And the quality of the oil from the olives has improved because farmers take them for pressing within 24 hours of harvest rather than storing them for a month or two, as in the past.But a boost to the income of local farmers - 90 percent of whom have adopted the new techniques - isn't the only benefit.

The work performed by Abdelatif's team of seven men and three women, replicated in other municipalities of Al Haouz province, south of the city of Marrakesh, means fewer young people are migrating to urban areas in search of work.

David Paleino


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