The Béni Mellal-Khénifra Region is located in north-central Morocco and registered in 2020 with a population of 2,613,137 people.
The crops with the most important agricultural production in Morocco are wheat (47.9% of farmers produce it), olive (47.2% of farmers), onion (35%), and potato (18.8%).
FoodLAND surveyed a total amount of 400 farmers in this region with the aim of improving the background knowledge of African smallholder farmers’ decision-making and of individual and contextual conditions. Just 10 out of the 400 farmers surveyed were women; all the rest were men. 65% of farmers are not members of any local farmers’ associations.
According to the information gathered from the surveys, 78.5% of farmers’ income is lower than the average income in the region, the income of 17% of farmers is about the average or somewhat higher, and only 4.5% of farmers stated an income higher than average. Nevertheless, 68% of them are able to meet their household’s food needs, 30,5% experience some difficulties, and 1.5% face serious food shortages.
Besides, they have reported major worries regarding the near future about the cost price increase of fertilizer or seed (3.75 on a scale from 1 to 5), drought (3.13) and about income reduction (2.6).
With regard to their interest and propensity to introduce new technologies and/or productions, almost 84% of farmers are extremely or moderately interested in adopting a technological innovation (4.26 on a scale from 1 to 5).
Technological innovations in this Food Hub
Precision harvesting systems. This action aims to develop/test/implement a system for detecting the optimal harvest date at a zone level. The use of drones to assess the condition of olive groves in relation to the maturity of the fruit will make possible to decide collectively the start date of the harvest. Another objective is to develop an app that can help advise farmers on the optimal harvest date since currently the start of the harvest season is based on the individual decisions of farmers without any collective consultation in relation to the maturity of production.
Centrifugation, filtration, and clarification. This action focuses on the most appropriate conditions for performing efficient centrifugation, filtration and clarification, applied to the production of virgin olive oil in an industrial Moroccan olive oil mill. FoodLAND partners have decided to focus the experimental activity on the production of a Flavoured Olive Oil (FOO) to be used as a seasoning for new gastronomic preparations. The most promising recipe is based on the co-milling of olives and oranges and black pepper.