ABOUT THE PROJECT
Food legumes provide an important opportunity contributing to food and nutrition security in a sustainable way, through intensification and diversification of agricultural systems and by providing a major source of nutrition for the poor. Food legumes also play a significant role in the efficient use of soil and water resources and to judicious exploitation of agricultural production systems. Equally, pulses play an important role in food and nutrition security, animal feed, income and employment generation, and poverty alleviation.
The overall production levels of food legumes in Morocco have steadily fallen in the last decades and certainly not in accordance with their potential. Yields of food legumes have stagnated and no yield breakthroughs have occurred. Thus, one of the most salient features of the current food legumes market is the consistently lower production against the demand. This has led to increased prices worldwide. It has also made the market volatile.
In Morocco, while food legumes exports represented 45 to 60% by volume in the 1970’s, the failure of production to keep pace with the national overall demand, Morocco relies now on importing to supplement local production capacity, which affects considerably the balance of payment and per capita consumption. The land cropped annually with food legumes went from 511 000 hectares during 1970-1980 to 380 000 hectares during 1990- 2000 decades. During the last decade, it stabilized around 365 000 hectares annually. The global food legumes production is about 2.4 million quintals per year. Average yield went from 6.3 to 6.6 quintals/ha. The annual per capita consumption decreased is around 6 kg. Productivity levels of food legumes have remained low and variable due mainly to low yield potential of existing varieties, poor seed multiplication systems, susceptibility of grown varieties to environmental stresses and depredation by diseases, insect pests and parasites, limited use of inputs, access to market, labor cost and availability and low degree of mechanization, and weak farmer organization.
The new Green Morocco Plan (GMP) launched in 2008 is intended to implement an agricultural policy that will bring about: (i) the competitive upgrading of the agricultural sector in the perspective of modernization and integration into the world market, and the creation of wealth for the whole value chains; (ii) the taking into account of the whole sector in all its economical, sociological, environmental and territorial components, with priority being given to sustainable human development objectives; (iii) the greater optimization and sustainable management of natural resources; and (iv) the definition of support policies needed for sustainable growth. Food legumes are parts of the GMP. The production objective within major producing regions as stated in the Agricultural Regional Plans (PAR) is to be increased by 40 to 80% by 2020.
Within IMFLI, India and Morocco through South to South cooperation decided to join their efforts and expertise to boost food legumes production in their respective countries. The goal of such initiative would improve food security and nutrition, soil health, income growth, employment opportunities and farmers’ organizations and empowerment. Though, both countries will mutually cooperate to sustain their food security through trade.
The major outcomes pursued by the initiative concern:
- Output 1. Value chains of targeted food legumes studied and analyzed
- Output 2. Improved varieties tested and evaluated through on-farm participatory approach
- Output 3. Integrated crop management options refined and tested by farmers
- Output 4. Functional village-level based seed delivery systems established
- Output 5. Value addition through post-harvest processing, storage and labeling of food legumes investigated
- Output 6. A pilot knowledge connectivity system using different ICT tools to meet the needs of information and knowledge of targeted rural communities established
- Output 7. Pilot community based organizations (CBO/ farmer aggregation) demonstrated
- Output 8. Back up research to enhance technology generation, including, IPM/ICM, Crop improvement, adapted mechanization carried out
- Output 9. Capacity building and networking of all stakeholders achieved
- Output 10. M&E system for project implementation, management and impact developed and monitored on a regular basis
- Output 11. Pro-food legumes enabling policy explored and documented