To enhance the culture of almond and develop the social economy, locally and regionally, the Regional Council of Souss Massa Draa and the Association Louz organize the annual Festival of Almond, in partnership with the Municipality of Tafraout and Moroccan Network of Social Solidarity Economy (RMESS).
The argan tree is an ancestral natural wealth, classified by UNESCO as a universal natural heritage since 1999.
Argan occupies a unique geographical area in the World of 800 000 hectares of which 80% in the region Souss Massa Draa. Tests of implantation in other regions of the world did not give any results.
The culture of the argan tree represents 11 % of of the total agricultural CA of the region and 86 % of the national production. It is about a typical culture of the region. This sector presents very interesting characteristics: varieties of these manners, unique character of the product, and current level of development of the sector … This culture presents opportunities of growth and a very important potential of creation.
The Arganier plays an essential role in the fight against desertification. It is also recognized by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve. Argan oil, considered one of the rarest oils in the world, has several virtues, food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics. It is traditionally extracted by from the core of the fruit of the argan tree by women Amazigh of the region. The oil is 100% natural and organic rich in unsaturated fatty acid and Vitamin E, which acts against atherosclerosis, and provides benefits for moisturizing and rejuvenating the skin.
At the initiative of the Regional Council Souss Massa Draa, a Protected Geographical indication obtained in Morocco (Argan IGP) was created to protect and promote the work of local people using the Moroccan law on Distinctive Signs of Origin and Quality (SDOQ). This IGP is managed by the Moroccan Association of the Geographical Indication of Argan oil (AMIGHA).
The caper is a Mediterranean shrub of Capparidacées family, grown for its flower buds called capers. It belongs to the genus Capparis which contains more than 350 species used for different purposes; food, medicine, cosmetics or ornamentation.
Morocco is currently the first producer and exporter of capers in the Mediterranean Basin and in the world. Three main Moroccan regions where the caper is grown traditionally are: Taounate, Safi and Taroudant. But, it exists in other several regions in a spontaneous way.
It is a shrub with long trailing branches and grayish that measures in the adulthood as 50-80 cm in height and 1 to 1.5 m in width. The leaves usually have an oval to rounded, thick, colored green or glaucous, with a pair of curved spines at the base. The development of twigs is characterized by two phases; the first one is a vegetative growth in which there is no floral initiation, the second begins when the twig forms ten knots and during which we attend the initiation of the floral buttons. As long as they are not opened, these floral buttons which are capers constitute the part of the plant the most looked for the consumption.
The flowers are pinkish in color, with 4 sepals, 4 petals and stamens grouped into several clusters. The fruit is a berry dehiscent, ovoid, it is big, fleshy and covered by a long peduncle. The number of seeds per fruit averaged 130 with a minimum of 15 seeds for small fruit and 400 for large. The roots are very deep and little branched. It is the anti-erosion plant that fixes the ground and grows on steep slopes.
The settlement areas in the Souss Massa Draa are the southern slopes of the High Atlas and the Anti-Atlas (Province of Tiznit). Currently, a project to plant 400,000 tree nurseries on a surface of 1000 hectare is under way in the province of Tiznit (CCA Tiznit Program (2006-2010)).
The number of involved farmers is very low; it is women that are occupied with the collection. The production, which is usually sold in bulk amounts to 50 tons at the eastern zone, while it is low in the western zone (<10T).
The prickly pear is a fleshy berry with numerous seeds, stemming from the prickly pear .This one is a succulent plant characterized by stems thick and oval in forms of rackets
The prickly pear is a native of Mexico, which has spread to other continents, including the Mediterranean countries and some of South Africa.
The fruit of the prickly pear is very nutritious. Rich in vitamin C, it contains albumin, sugar and mucilage uncrystallizable (plant substance such as viscous, jelly coagulable by alcohol). The fruit is pleasant; it is very healthy and very refreshing during the summer. The prickly pears of Morocco have a soothing virtue, in which it is possible to extract a very nutritious oil.
The cultivation of prickly pear represents 57% of CA total farm sales in the region 48.9% of national production. The development of this sector is an economic priority. This activity is a very important growth driver. Today, it is poorly organized and not very productive, this sector with a potential for development and value creation, wealth and therefore more jobs.
The prickly pears now cover 44 000 hectare in which 28 000 ha of private land in the area of Ait Baamrane. 21 000 hectares are operated by local people and the cooperative "Aknari”. These plants protect against soil erosion and desertification.
Henna in Morocco is a social tradition that dates back to antiquity; it has virtues that are both aesthetic and medicinal. Henna, also known under the name Lawsomia Inermis or miniature, it is a tree or shrub flavored that can grow strongly twenty feet in height. This plant is branched, a mixture of green and white single leaves with four petals, arranged in clusters.
The flowers are small, fragrant, pink, yellow or red, and produce blue black berries. Its seed is black, shades of various colors; we start from jade green to gray green, through the emerald green. The smell of flowers is sweet with a slightly musky flavor.
This plant grows in warm and less damp climates. It is originally from the Middle East, North Africa and the subcontinent Indopakistanais. Only a few countries export their henna while others keep it for local trade. The particularity of Moroccan henna is this intensity darker than the green of the olive.
In the Souss Massa Draa, henna is grown on 1,200 hectares within the perimeters of Tazarine and Draa Valley with 2,400 farmers and a functional cooperative in Tamegroute (Jbel Banned). Production is about 36,000 quintals per year.
Honey is one of the first food of man. It is well known for its many health benefits as well as its sweetness so it is highly prized in the food. Symbol of prosperity and abundance, it is mentioned in the Koran as beneficial to health and as an element of paradise. The "nectar of the gods” it is primarily a food energy, anti-anemic, antiseptic, aperitif, antitussive (cough quiet) digestive, diuretic, emollient (relaxes and soothes inflamed tissues), antipyretic (fever fight), laxative (facilitates intestinal transit), sedative and vicarious (compensates for the deficiency).
In the Souss Massa Draa, honey comes from the black bee (Apis mellifera) and the Saharan bee (Apis mellifera sahariensis), more resistant to diseases and more productive for citrus in the Souss valley, thyme, of cedar, rosemary, thistle, and all flowers in the High Atlas mountains of spurge, thyme, carob, rosemary, eucalyptus and flowers all in the Anti-Atlas region Tiznit.
The region Souss Massa Drâa account 110 000 traditional hives and 25 000 modern, whereas the annual production amounts to 512 tons in 2005 in Souss Massa, 5 % more compared to 2004, and 13.5 tons for the region of Ouarzazate in 2000 with 15 000 beekeepers, 37 cooperatives and 8 producers' associations.
Amlou is a special recipe from the region of Souss prepared with honey, argan oil and almond which is also marketed as honey.
Honey is good for the souss region concerning the pollination of crops it is necessary to produce agricultural pollination of wild plants and necessary for the maintenance of biodiversity.
A symbol of fertility and prosperity of the pre-Saharan and Saharan zones, the date palm, found mainly along the valleys of the Ziz and Draa, is considered one of the oldest fruit species in the country. It is a monocot in the family Arecaceae or Palmae which is the palm tree family.
The date palm cultivation which is one of the main agricultural activities in the pre-Saharan and Saharan zones occupied for more than a century, an important area of more than 15 million feet and placed Morocco in the third place worldwide in the production of dates.
This Saharan plant of oases contains a lot of wealth the main thing of which is certainly its fruits, dates. Rich in water (70%), the date is a fruit of the desert with generous form, well supplied with vitamin B, magnesium, iron, potassium and fiber, allowing a significant energy intake while fighting against anemia and constipation. The date also proved to be a very good fuel.
The date palm is the basic structure of the agronomy of Moroccan oasis by creating an essential microclimate in a good development of the underlying cultures. In addition, besides the power desalination of soils, date palms are less demanding in water resources and fertile land, and they can adapt to climatic and environmental changes.
The date palm cultivation represents about 20 % of the total agricultural CA of the region, 40 % of the national production. This sector needs to be developed especially reorganized. This activity is also a strong growth driver. The date palm cultivation has been declining for several years in the region. The difficult operating conditions, a very low level of value and a rural exodus endemic explain the progressive decline of this traditional culture.
Palm groves, planted generally in mixed culture, allow the subsistence of many families whose livelihood bases on the exploitation of the date palm and on the by-products which planted in an environment characterized by limited resources.
The region counts 1 900 000 of palm trees which produce 600 000 quintals a year. They allow the creation and the preservation of a microclimate in oases, necessary for the agricultural associated activities (cereals, arboriculture …).
The rose is the flower most aromatic and most captivating globally.
The cultivation of roses in the Souss Massa Draa represents 100% of national production. It is a typical and traditional culture of the area known as the "Valley of Roses. Growing areas spread over 45 km of Rose Valley (5 km south of El Kelaa up to 4 km north of Boulmane Dades). Rose bushes are planted along as hedges separating the parcels, a total length estimated at 3200 km the vast majority of farmers practice cultivation in their land borders. The production is 32,000 tons per year.
These little roses are used in the composition of countless beauty recipes. It is used to extract the essence and for making the famous rose water known for its various virtues.
This sector needs to be developed and integrated. Reorganized, this activity may present a strong growth and significant job creation since it is a very requesting labor.
The Saffron, nicknamed the Red Gold, is a magnificent flower, besides being one of the finest spices used as flavor to make delicious dishes.
It is very popular thanks to its many virtues. In fact, it is not only for food but has always been closely linked to beauty and cosmetics, and other aesthetic and pharmaceutical uses throughout history.
Safran's presence in North Africa dates back to the ninth century. In the region it is grown in Taliouine, Taroudant province, and in the vicinity of Tazenakht.
The harvest of saffron requires a lot of work. Crocus sativus is a bulb that goes into the ground in early September and spent the summer dormancy, which is perfectly adapted to soils of low rainfall. It is harvested from late October to mid November. The flower, purple, grows out of the ground during the night and must be picked daily, before sunrise. The pruning and drying stigmas followed quickly, keeping correctly the red gold. It takes about 200 flowers for 1 g of dried saffron!
According to the Office of Regional Agricultural Development (ORMVA), the volume of production of saffron is estimated at 3000 kg per year. A figure which allows to classify Morocco in 4th position internationally after Iran, India and Greece. The total area dedicated to this traditional culture is 640 ha for 1285 producers.
The Regional Council Souss Massa Draa was the initiator of the Protected Designation of Origin AOP SAFRAN DE TALIOUINE, a distinctive sign protected to organize and value the sector of saffron.
The goal of AOP is to maintain local part of the profits made by middlemen saffron both nationally and internationally. The AOP approach will also create new jobs for young people in the whole chain: production, drying and marketing. To enhance the cultural anchor of saffron as a local product in the region, the AOP encourages the organization of producers into groups of villagers represented a cooperative village groups and a union of producer cooperatives saffron.