50,000 Hectares To Be Planted with Argane Trees by 2030 (Minister)
Agadir – By 2030, 50,000 hectares will be planted with Argane trees in Morocco, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests Aziz Akhannouch said on Monday in Agadir.
Speaking at the ceremony organized on the occasion of the first celebration of the International Argane Tree Day, initiated by Morocco and the United Nations, Akhannouch underlined that within the framework of the “Generation Green” strategy launched by HM King Mohammed VI, the Argane farming sector will be upgraded through the launch of other development projects with the aim of reaching a cumulative objective of 400,000 ha.
He added that, in 2018, a program touched on planting 10,000 hectares with Argane trees for a total cost of 49 million dollars, for the benefit of 26,000 beneficiaries, adding that the Agricultural Development Fund offers financial incentives to support Argane cultivation.
Akhannouch noted that the commercial demand for Argane products has experienced a tangible increase, adding that Moroccan exports of Argane oil have tripled between 2010 and 2020.
In order to strengthen the position of these products on international markets and protect this civilizational heritage, the Argane tree has had its own geographical declaration since 2010, recalled the Minister.
Underlining the importance of scientific research for the development of the Argane tree, Akhannouch announced the creation during this year of the National Argane Center, which will be an incubator for public and private initiatives and a platform for boosting research and documentation related to the Argane grove.
As part of efforts made to organize the sector, more than 500 cooperatives bringing together 10,000 women have been created, ie 10 times more than in 2004, he said.
22 nurseries were also set up for the production of Argane plantations approved by the National Office for Food Products Sanitary Safety (ONSSA), compared to 2 in 2015, and over 450 small and medium-sized enterprises were created and are operating mainly in the fields of development and export, with an annual turnover currently estimated at more than one billion dirhams, he added.
Akhannouch stressed the collective responsibility of all countries to pay special attention to strengthening international cooperation and funding for the protection of this unique heritage, which plays a vital role in the preservation of the balance of nature and biological diversity.
The opening ceremony of this high-level event was held in a hybrid format and aired on United Nations web TV, YouTube and social networks.
It brings together high-ranking figures including President of the United Nations General Assembly Volkan Bozkır, UN Secretary General Deputy Amina J. Mohammed, Permanent Representative of Morocco to the UN, Ambassador Omar Hilale, Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of WHO Tedros Ghebreyesus, Deputy Executive Director of UN-Women Anita Bathia, Deputy Director-General of FAO Maria Henela Semedo, and executive director of the Green Climate Fund Yannick Glemarec.
The proclamation of this international day follows the adoption of a resolution, presented by Morocco, to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on March 3, 2021.