Swisscontact empowers farmers to generate additional income and to be able to respond to changing climate and market conditions. To this end, innovative strategies are developed together with the private sector, public institutions and academia. The aim is to transform the agricultural sector towards greater sustainability by developing resource-efficient and resilient agricultural systems that strengthen natural processes and ecosystems.
"Generation Green 2020-2030" is the strategy for the agricultural sector in Morocco. This vision puts people at the centre because the sustainability of agricultural development is closely linked to the human component. The project focuses on protecting and restoring the environment, improving farmers' living standards and the well-being of farming communities.
Dairy farming in Morocco faces a number of challenges; the quality and quantity of milk per cow are low, production depends on the season, and many young people no longer run the farms because the business is not profitable. Together with Nestlé Morocco, Swisscontact is supporting the development of a new generation of professional, thriving and socially committed cooperatives that open up new economic activities, especially for young entrepreneurs. Nestlé works with the dairy farms and pursues a strategy of "Creating Shared Value", whereby Nestlé, in turn, benefits from improved supply and quality management.
The project works with cooperatives and farmers to better understand and meet their needs. The first step is to map the dairy value chain to identify the different actors and their roles as well as to understand the relationships between them. Based on this information, a more sustainable and inclusive business model will be developed. This way, farms will be able to improve their production value and -volume while keeping their costs low. In addition, the project ensures the integration of youth and women into the model village by providing them with training, which allows them to put their entrepreneurial ideas into practice.
For the first time, the innovative approach of the field schools is available to livestock farmers and dairy producers in Morocco. The project coordinates field schools where farmers learn best practices in feeding practices and animal welfare measures. The animal husbandry practices learned can not only reduce the risk of animal diseases, but also increase milk production and improve the balance between inputs and yields. The field schools offer an interactive learning method; in addition to good farming practices, they learn to adopt their own observations and analyses as a starting point for innovations, to exchange and share their experiences.
Farmers are part of informal networks that share information; each person receives different pieces of information and experiences from their social network. Through analysis, the social networks of farmers will first be mapped to understand how they share knowledge and technologies. This will identify the most innovative and influential farmers who can facilitate the adoption and dissemination of good agricultural practices and new methods within their networks. In doing so, those practices that are most helpful to farms are selected. The improvements in livestock farming and dairy production will enable them to produce more productively and profitably and ultimately improve their livelihoods.
"It is about farmers learning to share values, thinking models and language, defining common goals and acquiring organisational skills. Only when these learning outcomes are achieved is the 'collective' truly born. This includes the ability to communicate, cooperate and work as a team. We have learned to make decisions together, to tackle a common problem and to trust each other. Shared commitment leads us to a forward-looking future."
"The idea of small cooperatives is very convincing. We have realised that we can work much more effectively together. We are only 5 members, but that keeps us on top of things. Each of us has contributed to the building and running of the cooperative and has our own role. Joint management through the shared barn and milking not only reduces costs, but also saves us time in which we can build up new activities to diversify. We want to proceed step by step, on a solid financial basis. Currently, we are considering how to improve the water supply by installing a well."
Saadia Ettorhi, President of the women's cooperative Milky
"Thanks to Nestlé's initiative and Swisscontact's technical support, the dream of a functioning cooperative will become a reality in the near future. We are in the process of setting up the communal barn for the new herd to house the cows of the cooperative members. The milking equipment and the collection room are already installed. The training room can be used. It is now important to make the services of the cooperative available to non-members for a fee and to further promote the exchange of good farming practices at a community level. In this context, the selected master producers are at our side as mentors. The next step is to test the pilot experiments launched to reduce the carbon footprint for the introduction of sustainable dairy farming. The installed solar power plant already enables a massive reduction in electricity consumption. In addition, we want to fulfil our social responsibility in the community and offer job opportunities to youth and women."
The project is funded by Nestlé and other donors. This project is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA).