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Amélioration de la productivité et de la durabilité dans les zones agricoles marginalisées au Maroc

Place: morocco, Africa
Sustainable development of small rural communities Sustainable development of small rural communities
Total Budget: € 300.000,00 | Period: From November 2009 To July 2014

Summary

The main objective of the initiative is to improve the productivity of farmers in marginal areas of the district of Taounate in Morocco. In order to answer the objective several local actions were conducted at the site level on the use of genetic diversity to control pest and disease of different crops (faba bean, durum wheat and barley), the valorization of local varieties for direct and indirect market tools, and the development of community seed bank for better exchange of genetic material (all species of interest for the male and female farmers), information among the farmers of the local site. The beneficiaries are the farmers of the project sites. This initiative led to the creation of the community seed bank and the increase in the use of the genetic diversity as mean to control pest and diseases and therefore to increase the productivity at the farm’s level.

Partnership

BIOVERSITY INTERNATIONAL - Italy

Lead applicant

Improving lives through biodiversity research.

School for technicians of Sahel Boutahar - Morocco

Initiative partner

L’Institut technique de Sahel Boutahar à Taounate vise à former les techniciens et qualifiés dans le secteur agricole en se basant sur l’agriculture de la province.

Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery - Morocco

Initiative partner

Développement de l’agriculture au Maroc

Hassan II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine - Morocco

Initiative partner

The initiative has been established in order to develop on farm development actions in different geographic sites in Taounate to support local seed system, enhance use and conservation of diversity and increase resilience. The approach is to translate scientific knowledge into development interventions and actions that support and improve the small farmer production systems by maintaining and using genetic diversity to reduce pest and disease damage. The operational objectives of the proposed project are to support, understand, modify and strengthen the seed supply system through: - Complete analysis on the current state of seed systems and management of diversity on-farm - Support interventions that favor the use of diversity rich options to control pest and disease - Establish a Community Seed Bank (CSB) - Develop a set of interventions to mainstream diversity options into seed system These objectives were turned into different components that aim to understand genetic diversity and its interaction with pest and disease on farm through sampling material and field tests; to promote exchange of information and material among farmers; and to document results and experiences on use of genetic diversity.

The main innovation output of this initiative is the establishment and the development of a Community Seed Bank for the small shareholders at the province of Taounate to promote conservation, sharing, exploitation and valorization of the locally diverse genetic material. This CSB is under construction together with the Minister of Agriculture in a local school of technicians. It will be the first CBS in the Morocco and will be a pilot activity to be used as an example and be replicated in other sites of the country.
The CSB will improve access to locally adapted varieties guarantee good quality of seeds which are not always available in the formal seed market. The species and varieties to be included in this CSB will be chosen together with the famers and the local developers. The CSB will be used for education purpose at different scales (technicians, farmer advisers, farmers etc.).

Diverse local varieties of durum wheat Diverse local varieties of durum wheat collected from the province of Taounate at one farmer's field.
Field of barley Diverse field of barley in the province of Taounate in Morocco
Meeting between the national and international team of Bioversity Site for the development of the community seed bank in the school of technicians at Sahel Boutaher. Meeting between the national and international team of Bioversity and the technical school.

Up to 30% of the world’s annual harvest continues to be lost to pest and diseases, with developing countries experiencing the greatest devastation. The potential negative consequences of planting large areas to single uniform crop cultivars were seen, with the e.g. Irish potato famine. Breeding programs exist to develop new resistant varieties. The maintenance cost of this system is high, particularly for developing countries. In contrast, a diverse genetic basis of resistance is beneficial for the farmer because it allows a stable management of pest and disease.
One of the few assets available to farmers in developing countries is their local genetic diversity and the indigenous knowledge they have acquired to manage diversity. Farmers have often local preferences for growing variety mixtures, which they understand provides resistance to pests and diseases and enhances yield. Yet this asset is not fully utilized. Little national research funding is channeled to developing technologies that support the use of local crop diversity and diversity rich options.

Supporting the conservation & use of crop biodiversity Genetic diversity as an option to control pest and disease and as important source of incomes

The initiative, which has been ongoing for several years in marginal areas in Taounate, aim to study the genetic diversity and its use for sustainable farming and source of income. This initiative was carried out with the direct involvement of the target users: the farmers, local institutions, and NGos. Main results of this initiative are:
- Increase the awareness plant genetic resources, crop diversity among farmers and local institutions
- Identification and characterization of the different local varieties of faba bean, and durum wheat grown in the area
- Use genetic diversity to reduce pest and disease incidence and increase yield for different field crops
- Develop a community seed bank at local site level for variety storage and seed availability independently from the season (dry or wet) together
- Implication of local authorities in the process of using genetic diversity as mean to control pest and disease and therefore for increasing grain yield and improving livelihoods through income increase
- Minimal and correct use of pesticides and on seed storage for mid and long term seed conservation. 

Different varieties used in the mixture trials Picture of the different varieties used in the mixture trials
Posters on training sessions Posters on training sessions for use of pesticides
../file-system/small/docx ../file-system/small/docx Figures on effect of increasing genetic diversity on grain yield Figures on effect of increasing genetic diversity on grain yield With C2 / C3 / C4; combination of 2, 3 and 4 varieties respectively.

The major beneficiaries are small holder farmers local, in Morocco. Male and female famers and local association will benefit from this initiative. Women researchers and decision-makers, will benefit by being activity sought for leadership, management and research roles in the project; consumers will benefit from wider diversity of products available in the market. National breeders benefit from access to locally adapted materials for crop improvement.

Genetic diversity of durum wheat Genetic diversity of durum wheat in the province of Taounate as pre-breeding population for national breeding programs. Research station at IAV Hassan II.
Genetic diversity of durum wheat Genetic diversity of durum wheat in the province of Taounate as pre-breeding population for national breeding programs. Research station at IAV Hassan II.
Workshop with men Workshop with men on the identification and characterization of their local varieties for different field crops.
Workshop with women association Workshop with women association for the use and the valorization through market methods of their local material and indigenous knowledge.
Workshop with women association Workshop with women association for the use and the valorization through market methods of their local material and indigenous knowledge.

In the frame of this initiative, several persons were involved from:
- The educational and research institute (IAV Hassan II), six researchers / lecturers with different skills and competence (plant breeding, genetic resources, plant protection, weed control, insect control, honey production); three technicians from the plant breeding and genetic resources department, ten MsC students since 2010 and one PhD student. Each year two to three students are working on this project at the site level for conducting surveys and experiments and in the organization of workshops, trainings, group discussions etc. together with farmers. Researchers and lecturers are providing farmers with information and knowledge on best agricultural practices and on manners to improve them.
- The local development center, five technicians from three different rural districts. These technicians are working as local advisors to promote good practices for increasing yield and profitability of farmers.
- The international institute BIOVERSITY INTERNTATIONAL, with two researchers who are carrying this project in different countries in the world.

Working group in May 2014 Working group in May 2014 during a workshop at Tissa with female and male farmers on the importance, conservation, characterization and use of genetic diversity for different crops.

The main constraints we had to face during this project were :
- Difficulty to identify and name the local varieties by different farmers. Each variety has to be identified with a large number of traits that are more or less heritable such as plant height, ear color for durum wheat, number of seeds per pod for faba bean etc. This difficulty allows us to have a good identification and knowledge on the variety they are using and on the level of the existing genetic diversity.
- Difficulty for evaluating the material for disease and pest resistance in experimental plots in farmer’s field. The success in establishing experimental field trials at the site level together with farmers allow to screen the material for local diseases and to increase awareness of the farmers on the importance of genetic diversity and its use for improving productivity.
- Difficulty in the use of available funds through the IAV Hassan II. Working in rural areas, having experimental field trials, conducting surveys and local actions led to expenses that could not be justified with invoices. Some expenses were directly taken by the scientific team.

This initiative has a direct impact on the environment and agroecosystem since it promotes the use of locally adapted material which requires less chemical inputs (pesticides and fertilizers). Furthermore, the initiative is enhances the conservation, through the use and valorization, of crop genetic diversity of several crops used in the region of Taounate. The conservation program is done through in situ activities mainly for faba bean, durum wheat and barley; but also through ex situ conservation with the establishment of a community seed bank which will keep seeds of many different species of interest to farmers.

Diverse spikes of durum wheat Picture of diverse spikes of durum wheat collected from one population sown in one field and designated with one variety name.
Faba bean seeds Picture of diverse faba bean seeds

This initiative has a direct impact on the environment and agroecosystem since it promotes the use of locally adapted material which requires less chemical inputs (pesticides and fertilizers). Furthermore, the initiative is enhances the conservation, through the use and valorization, of crop genetic diversity of several crops used in the region of Taounate. The conservation program is done through in situ activities mainly for faba bean, durum wheat and barley; but also through ex situ conservation with the establishment of a community seed bank which will keep seeds of many different species of interest to farmers.

In order to disseminate the results of our initiative different information supports were used for farmers, scientists, local developers and policy makers.
- Articles and papers
- Leaflets for local meetings and workshops
- Information on Bioversity website
- Video documentary on the activities

Leaflets in Arabic Leaflets in Arabic
Title of the video documentary Title of the video documentary : Biodiversité végétale, Région de taounate, Maroc. (too big for being uploaded)