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Review for High Atlas Foundation, New York, NY, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

My impression from a visit at the Pomegranate Cooperative at Awlad Abdallah – Yaniv Teitel, an intern at HAF and student at the Glocal program in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

On Wednesday the 4/9 I got the chance to join the Farm to Farmer staff on their first meeting with the Pomegranate Cooperative at Awlad Abdallah. Farm to Farmer is a capacity-built program that HAF is conducting in rural areas in Morocco as part of a partnership with USAID. It was a four-hour drive for each direction, only to have an appointment of an hour and a half. I was very much impressed with the commitment of the staff towards this meeting. Especially sense the meeting was a first meeting and no body can guarantee it will lead to future cooperation's. We arrived at a modern packaging factory. Around the table were waiting for us the members of the cooperative, seven men and a woman. They told the story of their impressive social vision of the village and the role of their cooperative in fulfilling this vision. Rashid, the HAF facilitator was leading the discussion. He was trying to learn the needs of this personal cooperative. Everybody was taking part in the discussion lead very well by a young facilitator from the big city of Marrakech. It was a very pleasant environment.

They spoke about their needs and rated them from the most important to the least most important. I remember thinking how their needs sound just the same as the needs of the farms in Israel, my home country. While they are successful in exporting their pomegranates to different countries, they are not able to create a sufficient profit from this export. They know the prices of their fruit in the markets in other countries are high, but the profit doesn't reach to them and stays with the middleman. They have economic problems and regulation problems which restricts their product development. They also claim to have management problems and whish to learn better how to manage a cooperative. To me it looked from the side, that they are doing pretty well, and it was beautiful to see how they enable each to talk and take part in the management and the discussion.

We drove back, enjoying the sunset over the mountains. The ride back gave me a good opportunity to get to know the staff better and to learn more about Morocco. Everybody seemed to want to help me get started with my own project.

Role:  Volunteer