Rabat Hosts First Computing Event “Girls Code Too”.
Sunday 20 March 2016 -By Imane Abou-said Ifrane
The Moroccan Association for Computing Machinery collaborates with Arab Women in Computing-Morocco to organize the first “Girls Code Too” event. The idea developed as a small gesture to celebrate brilliant girls in Morocco and honor their efforts in a field often labeled as a men’s area of expertise. The two associations took the opportunity to put Moroccan college girls under the spotlight in the way they know best.
The contest will take place on March 20, at ENSIAS in Rabat. It will be run in the same style as the Moroccan Collegiate Programming Contest (MCPC). The only difference is that all the teams who are willing to participate must be made up of girls. Each team will represent a Moroccan institution and will be faced with a series of tough problems that they have to solve using one of three programming languages: C, C++ or JAVA. And because it is a team competition, they will have one computer to share.
The MACM considers this contest a first step towards a successful programming journey. Their goal is to encourage girls to join competitive programming. Since the organization is familiar with this kind of competition, officials have noticed that girls’ presence is poor.
For the past four years, the organization has hosted the Moroccan Collegiate Programming Contest that aims to create a competitive field for Moroccan students to assess and develop their programming skills, as well as to give them an opportunity to show themselves to the worldwide IT community. MCPC also serves as a qualifying round for ACM competitions on a broader level. It is a qualifying round for the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). “Girls Code Too” is the perfect opportunity for Moroccan girls who are passionate about programming to prove themselves and break society’s stereotypes. Girls have to show that they can do anything once they put their mind to it.
Why Domestic Violence Still Plagues Morocco.
By Daria Etezadi On 3/20/16
The Moroccan woman was 21 when she first laid eyes on the man who would become her husband. She saw the handsome 24-year-old in a photograph presented by his parents. That was three years ago, when she was still a student. Within a year, S.S., who did not want her name used, had dropped out of her university classes, forced by her father to marry the man. Shortly after the wedding, S.S. says the beatings and rapes began. “The whole time I just thought about killing myself,” she says. “There is no law that will help me sue my husband for the things that he did. So he always gets away with it.”
Morocco is hailed as one of the most progressive Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Yet despite amendments made to the Family Code in 2004 that increased women’s rights, domestic violence is still not a crime. A bill addressing violence against women [VAW] in Morocco had been in limbo for more than 10 years when, on March 17, lawmakers finally took up the issue and passed the bill. But there are detractors, including some unexpected ones: Nongovernmental organizations that have long lobbied for legislation to protect women opposed the bill, saying it fails to address the urgent needs of Moroccan women.
“Honestly,” says Stephanie Willman Bordat, a founding partner at Mobilising for Rights Associates, “[after] over 10 years of human and material resources invested in this effort by different international, governmental and NGO actors, I don’t know how much money spent, how many conferences, how many roundtables, how many training workshops, this draft law does not…respond to the voiced needs of women victims of violence in Morocco.” The revised legislation, she says, simply fails “to rise to the level of all of this investment.”
Critics say that is because the new bill merely increases penalties for existing criminal offenses and incorporates a Protection Order that can be issued only by police officers, whom most women don’t feel comfortable approaching. Nor does it criminalize instances of marital rape or protect victims from their attackers until the investigation phase is complete. It neglects to provide procedural guidelines or give clearly specified powers to police, judges and lawyers investigating and prosecuting claims. And, just as pressing, it fails to provide services such as health care and housing to female victims who find themselves with no safe haven.
“As international organizations, we’re in a place where we can really show up Morocco for its failure to do this in the international arena,” says Rothna Begum, women’s rights researcher for the Middle East and North Africa region at Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch published a letter to the government of Morocco in February demanding domestic violence law reforms following an investigation of conditions faced by women victims of violence in the region. In a separate report, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights cited a recommendation “that the [Moroccan] State party adopt a comprehensive law on violence against women that conforms to the relevant international standards and to ensure that it is implemented, with a view to eliminating all forms of violence against women, including marital rape.”
Despite these pressures, Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid, in office since 2011, was a staunch opponent to any further reforms. “I do not see how intimate acts between men and women that cannot be defined or proven can be penalized,” he recently told the French news portal Mediapart. “Violence is already penalized in the current law. If a woman does not accept the desire of her husband, it's easier for her to divorce than to file a complaint to the police. A woman should accept her husband or leave.”
According to a 2011 study (the first and only one of its kind) conducted by the state’s statistic agency, the High Commission for Planning, more than 6 out of 10 women in Morocco from the ages of 18 to 64 were victims of some form of violence in the previous year alone. Fifty-five percent of those said these acts occurred at the hands of their husbands. The same study revealed that only 3 percent of these women ever reported the abuse to authorities.
“A lot of women still opt to get hit by their husbands because they have nowhere to go and would lack financial support. And their kids—they have to think about them,” says Meryam Hilal, 22, social assistant at the Chaml Center women’s shelter in Kenitra, Morocco. M.H., 37, who also asked that her name not be used, says her husband gave her a drug that induced a miscarriage. She says he beat her and threatened to kill her if she told anyone about it. “I believe all women get beaten by their husbands,” M.H. says in a low tone, showing little emotion. “I am no exception. It’s a normal thing.” M.H. says her husband beat her with metal scaffolding, leaving cuts and bruises on her face and legs. She presented her case to the police and other officials, but she says the authorities turned her away, saying there was nothing they could do. Still married, M.H. says she now has few options because she is illiterate and has no way of supporting herself if she ends up alone.
“I want to live my life like anyone else,” she says, her eyes welling up with tears. “I feel my right to live was deprived from me. I feel hopeless. I feel lost.”
Serious and sustained discussions on the issue of violence against women in Morocco began in 2006, with the intent to craft a new law by 2012. But the government missed its own deadline. In 2013 the government promised to create a committee to refine the law, but there’s no evidence a committee has been meeting or even exists. “They’ve had [more than] two years now, when they could have been making the effort to make a committee that consults women’s rights groups. But their failure to do that suggests that there’s a lack of political will to really have strong [VAW] legislation,” says Begum of Human Rights Watch.
Bordat says the new bill passed by lawmakers is inadequate. Her group and partner NGOs drafted what they considered to be a more complete bill and have been actively lobbying ministers and other members of government to replace the government’s version with their own. “There’s a lot of public relations campaigning going on, on behalf of the government,” says Bordat. “That’s giving the impression that stuff’s getting done when it’s really in the beginning stages.”
Worldwide, most legislative changes to protect women from domestic violence began only in the past few decades. The United States passed its Violence Against Women Act in 1994. In the MENA region, Algeria passed a VAW law in 2015, while Tunisia is still fighting over the legislation, having built its first women’s shelter a few years ago. Libya and other countries in the region are reportedly without VAW laws.
Many see Morocco as influential in the region. Activists look to it for leadership and credit the government with the ability to promote women’s rights beyond its own borders. That, however, remains an open question, particularly in view of recent crackdowns on human rights organizations. “What most people don’t know is [that Morocco is] becoming a closed country,” says Begum. She reports that researchers from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been warned they are no longer welcome in the country.
Part of the shift may be attributed to the conservative Justice and Development Party, Morocco’s ruling party, which has been resistant to passing the law. Some Moroccans cite the Koran when discussing domestic violence. Abdessamad Dialmy, a professor at the University Mohammed V in Rabat, says a certain interpretation of one passage gives a man permission to beat his wife if she is rebellious or disobeys the laws of Allah. But a beating for that reason should not “leave any visible trace,” he adds.
A.F., 21, also did not want her name to be used, because she has experienced domestic violence and is now divorced, which carries a stigma in Morocco. Born and raised in a small village outside of Ouazzane, in northern Morocco, she was 16 when her marriage to a 25-year-old family friend was arranged. A.F. says her husband beat her every week for eight months and sent her running the short distance home to her parents, where she now lives quietly without an education or work prospects. “In my village, people…they gossip. But I didn’t care about what people would say. I was fed up. I just wanted to get rid of him,” A.F. says.
Even if the government were to pass a VAW law that satisfied advocates, violence against women in Morocco is unlikely to disappear, says Salima Bakkass of Amnesty International.
“The greater work to be done is [regarding] the mentality of the people who will live with these laws,” says Bakkass. Moroccans, she adds, need “to understand that...it’s not about men and women. It’s about human beings, and human beings should be treated equally.”
Daria Etezadi spent several months in Morocco on an SIT Study Abroad program. This story was produced in association with Round Earth Media (www.RoundEarthMedia.org), which is reinventing international news.
20 Pictures Representing the Beauty of Moroccan Women
Thursday 24 March 2016 - Larbi Arbaoui Taroudant
Moroccan website Happy Knowledge published rare pictures of Moroccan women throughout history, displaying the fabulous beauty of Moroccan women from nearly all regions of the country.
The women, mostly dressed in luxurious traditional attire with old jewelry, all reveal Moroccan beauty and kindness.
The twenty photos also show how women’s dress and fashion varies between regions within the kingdom. The clothing, make up, and the look of all the Moroccan women in the pictures reveal the diversity of Moroccan cultures and ethnicities, while beauty remains the common aspect that defines and bindsthe Moroccan women.
I can’t put it better than the Arab poet Jebran Khalil Jebran who said in Broken Wings, “A woman whom Providence has provided with beauty of spirit and body is a truth, at the same time both open and secret, which we can understand only by love, and touch only by virtue; and when we attempt to describe such a woman in words she disappears like vapor.”
View the pictures here:
Women have fought for change in Morocco, speaker at UM conference says
KEILA SZPALLER firstname.lastname@example.org Keila Szpaller TOM BAUER, Missoulian
Fatima Sadiqi, an author, linguist and Harvard Fellow from Morocco, is a keynote speaker at the 14th annual Central and Southwest Asia Conference at the University of Montana this week. Sadiqi said women in North Africa and the Middle East are not passive and submissive as often portrayed, and often are agents of change.
It is possible to reconcile the value of tolerance with the problem of gender inequality in Islam, according to author, linguist and Harvard fellow Fatima Sadiqi.
One does so by looking at the issue from within, not from without, Sadiqi said. Once outsiders look closely, they will see that women in North Africa and the Middle East have long struggled against patriarchy – in the family, the state and the social structure. They will see people who have never been passive and are not the "submissive creatures" they often are portrayed as.
"We are not what you think, but we want to have a say in religion," Sadiqi said.
This week, the fellow on language, religion and gender based at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., is in Missoula as a keynote speaker at the 14th annual Central and Southwest Asia Conference at the University of Montana. The presentations are hosted by the Central and Southwest Asian Studies Center at UM and organized with the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center and the Montana World Affairs Council.
This year, one theme of the conference is women as change agents in the Middle East and North Africa. On Thursday, Sadiqi talked about how she became the first woman linguist in the Arab world, and about how women are pushing against patriarchy. "There is a theory that says feminism is born and reborn in motion. When there is a revolution, feminism is born and reborn," Sadiqi said.
Sadiqi is the eldest of nine siblings, and the first girl in the family to go to school because her father believed in education. Her father was illiterate, but he cherished education, she said.
"He would say, 'If I only swept the floor of a school,' " Sadiqi said. Like other fathers of the same generation, he also believed educated children would be equipped to help their parents financially later in life. So he moved his family from the village to the city. "I didn't understand the logic at that time," she said. "Here we are, from the rural area, in the middle of all these urban people."
The only way to adapt was to go to school and learn to outsmart them, she said.
After she graduated from the University of Morocco, she had the option of spending a year in England. She told her father, who recommended she marry someone and go. At the University of Essex, Sadiqi, a Muslim woman, met an adviser who would open her mind. At first, though, she didn't trust him. David Kilby was Jewish, and Sadiqi was convinced he planned to fail her. "I really panicked. But the man, he was really somebody," she said.
Sadiqi believes Kilby understood she felt torn. He was hospitable to her, his family welcomed her into their home, and he quizzed her on the reason she wanted to focus her studies on Berber. In response, she told him about an argument she had overheard about Berber before she left Morocco. A couple of students were quarreling over whether Berber was a language, and one said it couldn't be a language because it wasn't written and had no grammar. Her adviser loved the observation she'd shared, and he told her he could help her analyze the language. Noam Chomsky's theory is that the grammar of a native language is in people's minds, and "linguists need to hook it out," Sadiqi said.
So she spent four years with her husband in England hooking out the verbs and sentences of Berber with help from Kilby. He was ill and emotional at her Ph.D. defense, and he died soon after.
Through their relationship, though, Sadiqi came to see him as a "second angel" after her father, even though she is a Muslim and Kilby was Jewish. "It was really something very big in my life, this inter-religious understanding," she said. As a girl, Sadiqi sensed discrimination against the "backward" language she spoke, and also because she is female. She grew sensitive to both types of discrimination, and in 2003, she published a book called "Women, Language and Gender." "I'm very happy to say that I'm the first woman linguist in the Arab world," said Sadiqi, who speaks five languages.
After she completed school in England, Sadiqi returned to Morocco. In her home country, women led the reforms and created movements that have had ripples around the world, she said.
Some of the changes seem small, but they're significant and symbolic, like this law for men: "Before you marry the second wife, you'd better tell the first one."
In the deadly terrorist attacks of 2003 in Casablanca, the first people protesting in the streets were women, she said. "Women's issues became national issues for the first time in history," Sadiqi said.
She's a senior professor of linguistics and gender at the Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in Fez, Morocco, where she and her husband live.
Sadiqi came to Montana because Rep. Andrea Olsen, D-Missoula, had gone to a conference in Washington, D.C., and heard the scholar speak. Olsen has attended most of the Southwest Asia conferences in past years, and had been to Jordan as a foreign exchange student. Olsen encouraged people to attend and said she hopes the conference can expand in the future. "We recognize how complicated, how interesting, and really challenging our understanding of a situation is, let alone the solutions to something we consider a problem," Olsen said. "We tend to put everything in its most simplest terms, which not only precludes deep, true understanding, but really precludes workable solutions."
Letter From Rabat
Aboubakr Jamai Friday, March 25, 2016
Strategic Europe continues its Capitals Series exploring how EU foreign policy is viewed by ten countries in Europe’s Southern neighborhood. We have asked our contributors from each capital to give a candid assessment of the EU’s approach toward their state, with a ranking on a scale from “irrelevant” to “helpful.” This week, the spotlight is on Morocco.
In dealing with its authoritarian Southern neighbors, the EU faces two dilemmas. The first is the perennial conundrum of stability vs. democracy; the second is the moral hazard of EU engagement. These dilemmas become thornier when the Southern neighbor in question has die-hard EU members as its champions, is a good team player on security issues such as fighting terrorism, and displays some of the trapping of democratic transition. Morocco is a case in point.
In nearby Tunisia, the 2010–2011 revolution initially seemed to have shattered the concept of stability. Before the young Tunisian Mohammed Bouazizi lit his match and set himself on fire, becoming a catalyst for the revolution, Tunisia was an epitome of stability in the region. The repressive methods of the old regime were overlooked as long as the country appeared stable in its preservation of the interests of European countries. The demise of former Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali seemed to have decisively swung the pendulum toward the argument that democracy ensures stability. Then the other countries affected by serious protests descended into chaos or reverted back to their former authoritarian selves. Against that backdrop, Morocco’s stability looked more valuable than its lack of democratization seemed problematic.
The EU’s approach toward Morocco is best described as confused. The rationale behind the EU’s support for the country since the Arab Spring largely hinges on the notion that Morocco rode the wave of uprisings by finding a path between stagnation and disruption thanks to the wise leadership of the country’s monarchy. The king initiated a constitutional reform after protesters took to the street demanding a parliamentary monarchy. While not acceding to their demand, the king put his stamp on a constitutional change that slightly limited his expansive prerogatives. Moreover, Morocco’s cooperation on security issues, mainly fighting terrorism, and on illegal immigration gained currency.
That paradigm has underpinned the EU’s attitude toward Morocco since at least the mid-1990s. Even if the country did not descend into chaos and its regime did not turn into a bloody dictatorship, Morocco certainly did not make great strides toward a liberal democracy. According to World Bank governance indicators, Morocco has at least stagnated when it did not backslide on the major criteria of good governance. According to the Transparency International corruption perception index, Morocco is a more corrupt country today than it was in 2000. If Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House are to be believed, the Moroccan press is more repressed today than in 2000.
Morocco’s average growth rate since 2011 has been a measly 3.8 percent. According to a study cited in a World Bank report, more than 66 percent of jobs in urban areas are in the informal sector. That explains the Faustian nature of the country’s social pact, which sustains a semblance of stability despite dismal economic and social indicators. Moroccan authorities allowed the informal sector to metastasize to provide jobs to those left out by the formal economy.
However, Morocco’s jobless rate is highest among young people and those who live in cities. One needs to remember that the Arab Spring was led by disgruntled urban youngsters deprived of economic opportunities and peaceful means to voice their demands. In other words, Morocco might not have dodged the Arab Spring bullet yet.
The informal sector, which caters to the lower social strata, is mirrored by a nepotistic web of big companies revolving around the king’s conglomerate and enjoying oligarchic positions in the formal economy. Here again, one common feature of the demonstrations against Arab despots was the waving of banners denouncing their mafia-like family control of the private economy. The EU’s failure to elicit more institutional reforms hampers not only the democratization process the union says it encourages but also the development of a properly managed and prosperous market-based economy.
Morocco has certainly enjoyed a privileged relationship with the EU. The Association Agreement between the EU and Morocco entered into force in 2000. Morocco was the first Southern
Mediterranean country to be awarded advanced status in 2008. Morocco is the largest recipient of EU funds in the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy. For the period 2007–2013, the EU awarded Morocco €1.3 billion ($1.5 billion) through the main EU main initiative for funding cooperation programs with its neighbors, the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument.
Here comes the moral hazard. Political scientists have determined that foreign support and aid can act as a geostrategic rent for authoritarian regimes because such assistance reduces the urgency to reform. The EU’s pusillanimous insistence on the political reform agenda coupled with its financial and diplomatic support might have removed the incentive for reforms.
A case in point is Morocco’s much-expected judicial reform. The constitution approved in July 2011 was silent on major aspects of the country’s political governance. Framework laws were supposed to fill the gaps at a later date. Chief among such legislation was a law reforming the judiciary. A draft bill was prepared—but was defended first before the French parliament.
The story illustrates at once how the democratic promises of 2011 have been betrayed and how major European countries are contributing to the process. It all began with a French judge summoning a Moroccan security official for questioning in a torture case. The Moroccan authorities’ anger at the French government led a French member of parliament and former justice minister, Elizabeth Guigou, to present a report to the French parliament that extolled the judicial reform to be voted on in Morocco—a judicial reform that put the reins of the judiciary firmly in the hands of the king. France’s unwavering support provided Morocco with the means to get away with cosmetic institutional changes.
Morocco’s decision to suspend contacts with the EU institutions over a court decision that declared that a farm trade accord was partly invalid and should not include the disputed territory of Western Sahara illustrates the moral hazard of some European allies’ unrelenting support.
Aboubakr Jamai is the dean of the School of International Relations at IAU College in Aix en Provence, France. He is the founder of the Moroccan weekly magazine, Le Journal Hebdomadaire, and was its editor from 1997 to 2007.
Women’s Social Networks at Heart of Coping with Climate Change in Morocco.
Saturday 26 March 2016 - morocco world news By Mohamed Tafraouti Rabat
The Adaptation to Climate Change in the Tensift Watershed Project (GIREPSE) organized a participatory workshop in the riverside village of Setti Fadema for the benefit of women from villages located on the banks of the Ourika River. The workshop discussed several ways to improve the management of water resources and enhance rural women’s capacities to deal with the impacts of climate change using Information and communication technology (ICTs).
The University of Moncton research team from Canada, headed by Professor Diane Pruneau, in coordination with Professor Abdellatif Khattabi, GIREPSE’s project Coordinator and President of the Moroccan Association of Regional Sciences (AMSR), is studying how ICTs can be used to help maintain communication among rural women in the search for solutions to local problems related to water shortages or pollution and to floods risks in the region.
Rural women suffer from shortages of water supply in some areas where access to potable water is limited because houses are not connected to piped water distribution networks. The research team is studying the skills and constraints demonstrated by a number of women who live and work along the Ourika valley. These women are invited to share their experiences in dealing with problems related to shortages of water resources and the suggested solutions to cope with floods and pollution constraints. To facilitate the communication among them, women were offered numerical tablets and internet connection for a period of two years in order to participate in the discussion.
Professor Abdellatif Khattabi, President of the Moroccan Regional Sciences Association (AMSR) and coordinator of the GIREPSE project, emphasized the focus on supporting this women’s net work which served as a virtual forum to discuss water related problems and suggest feasible and adaptable solutions through data and information via social media.
The participating women were taught how to use Internet and log into social media networks. They have shown enthusiasm for using the aforementioned tools by sharing videos and pictures of natural events such as floods and soil erosion that have happened in the area and how these events affected local people’s daily lives. Abdellatif Khattabi stated that the objective of the initiative is to create a social network platform for the exchange of information and the discussion of issues related to the management of water resources, especially during the periods of floods which occur periodically in the region, and which are being caused by heavy rainfall and summer storms. He added that women will have the opportunity to exchange pictures and videos that show events as they occur in real time and what solutions can be adopted to cope with them. Indeed, the use of the ICT initiative aims to develop communication and early warning communication mechanisms for the prevention and mitigation of natural hazard impacts on the population. Communicating through the virtual platform allows rural women to set up a network for sharing information and solutions to anticipate and cope with the impacts of climate change.
Abdellatif Khattabi explained at the opening of the workshop that the issues being discussed are among the priorities of the GIREPSE project, adding that this workshop is devoted to discuss water resources issues and the solutions adopted by local populations, especially women.
Professor Diane Pruneau from the University of Moncton, a partner in the project, presented the objectives of the initiative, which intends to build the capacity of rural women in using ICTs. The initiative seeks to identify the problems women face while consuming water in order to find effective solutions that are well matched with the peculiarities of the region and the status of rural women.
Sara Benbrahim, a student at the National School of Forest Engineers, presented an overview of the region and a summary of the flood events that marked the area, including the 1995, 1999 and 2014 ones.
How do women prepare to face flood risks?
According to a survey conducted by the project, the women interviewed said they would store firewood, an indispensable resource for the survival of the population of the region, in an attempt to reduce the impact of floods on their livelihoods.
The firewood is used for heating in cold weather conditions, since the region is known for its cold temperatures, which may lead to sickness or mortality in children at extreme conditions. Women also store grains, dry vegetables, sugar, and flour to insure provision of food for their families during rainy and snowy seasons. The storage strategy is very practical and useful during the periods of non-stop rainfall or snow, which isolate the entire villages from the outside world.
During rainy periods, women cover their rooftops with plastic sheets or sand beds. They also change water streams to prevent water from engulfing their homes. Those who fail to implement these measures rush to put their furniture and food supplies in high places in order to cut losses. Families who cannot escape the floods are forced to leave everything behind and run out of their homes. They seek shelter with neighbors or family members who manage to settle in the mountains or in less dangerous areas.
How do women behave after the floods?
Floods leave a trail of impacts on villages. The roads and drinking water infrastructure are damaged, wells and rivers become contaminated, houses are destroyed, stables become inundated, and electricity supply cuts are often encountered during these extreme events. In many of these cases, women are left alone to clean up the mess because most of men work in fields or in urban centers neighboring the region. In order to fix this situation, women resort to old and inefficient means such as clearing the roads in order to fetch water and firewood. They also clean houses, rebuild livestock stables, repair flood damages, fix rooftops, clean fields and restore irrigation canals.
The workshop participants discussed the issue of potable water and solutions to reduce water pollution. They also expressed their desire to have alternative sources of energy instead of having to fetch water. In addition, they suggested having a public bath to avoid using wood for private baths and that they would like to see the roads improved.
ICTs have become an essential tool to address the climate change problems faced by the region. ICTs can be used to mitigate the impact of green house gas emissions and help rural women adapt to climate change and lay the foundation for development. In this context, Android-powered tablets were distributed during the course of the workshop to the women participating in the research project. Women have pledged to share data on Facebook and attend workshops as well as a range of other commitments. Other workshops are planned to further develop gender equality issues with regard to the effects of climate change. The future workshops will see the participation of various academic institutions, and the Directorate of Meteorology.
The Moroccan Association for Regional Sciences coordinates the implementation of the GREPSE project, spanning over a three-year-period (2014-2017). This project is implemented in collaboration with the Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, the National School of Forest Engineers, the National Directorate of Meteorology, the Regional Observatory for Environment and Sustainable Development of Haouz-Tensift region, the National Institute of Urban Planning and the University of Moncton in Canada.
The project addresses the complex issues related to social, economic and natural systems and their interactions. It aims to promote integrated water management policy, while taking into account all the driving forces for change, both internal and external. The project will benefit from the comprehensive dialogue between the concerned stakeholders of the water sector.
How cronyism and lack of accountability are holding Morocco back
By Merouan Mekouar March 24
In January, Morocco moved to ban the use of voice-over-IP (VoIP) applications under the pretext that widely used applications such as WhatsApp, Viber and Skype were not properly licensed with the Moroccan Telecommunications Regulatory National Agency. Angering citizens who rely on the technology to work, communicate with their relatives abroad or simply keep in touch, the unexpected decision encouraged many to join a large “dislike” campaign of the major telecom companies’ Facebook pages, share videos and memes mocking the decision and boycott events sponsored by the corporations.
In September 2015, the Moroccan government prevented Swedish retailer IKEA from opening a newly completed store outside of Casablanca. The project, which cost millions of dollars and was to employ hundreds, had been in the works for more than a year, and many middle class Moroccans were looking forward to the do-it-yourself European box store. The arbitrary decision came after rumors spread that the Swedish government intended to recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in the disputed Western Sahara and was suddenly reversed six months later.
What explains these erratic and unpopular decisions? The recent behavior of Morocco’s government suggests that it has not yet overcome the structural flaws of many autocratic regimes. The constitutional reforms that seemed to have allowed the country to move past the protests of 2011 have not generated fundamental changes. Instead, the past five years witnessed the development of an increasingly erratic governing style ill-equipped to deal with the country’s serious political, economic and social challenges. Above all, the reforms have failed to generate mechanisms of accountability that might check the power of the monarchy and rationalize policy-making.
The wide range of grievances expressed during the heyday of the 2011 uprisings remain unresolved. The most unaddressed of all is the predatory involvement of the King’s entourage in the economy, widespread corruption, economic inequalities and misappropriation of public funds. The Moroccan government and the palace have continued to engage in a “politics of ignoring.” Such issues are banned from the media, and placed determinedly outside the realm of legitimate political discourse. Nonetheless, in an era of pervasive social media it is difficult to keep knowledge from a mobilized public.
This has resulted in a series of unpopular political decisions that have been seemingly gratuitous and disconnected from local societal dynamics, and that may ultimately prove disastrous for the stability of the country. From granting a royal pardon to a convicted pedophile to canceling a major international soccer tournament under the dubious pretext that the contest would bring an Ebola outbreak, the governments decisions have repeatedly frustrated large parts of the population for no obvious political gains. In the last few months for instance, the government has intensified its repressive campaigns against pro-democracy activists, particularly investigative journalists and human rights campaigners accused of “undermining state security” or “failing to report foreign funding.” It has also used heavy-handed tactics against traditionally supportive constituents, such as the medical community, and is planning to reinstitute French as the main language of education – a policy deemed unacceptable by many conservatives in the country.
The apparent mismatch between governmental policies and public opinion is the result of the structurally unequal distribution of power and political prestige in Morocco. On the one hand, the King is able to use his considerable financial and political prerogatives to conduct ambitious infrastructure projects such as the Noor Project, the world’s largest solar plant inaugurated in February 2016 or the transformation of the capital city’s riverfront. These projects reflect positively on the monarch, perpetuating the palace’s image as the only effective institution in the country. On the other, the elected government is not only forced to accept these decisions – as well as the budgetary constraints that accompany them – but it is also blamed for all the unpopular decisions needed for everyday governance such as pensions reforms, the end of subsidies of staple products or the reform of the medical and educational sectors.
While the new constitutional text adopted few months after the start of the Arab uprisings in 2011 shields the palace from criticism by making the person of the king “inviolable,” the government is left in the uncomfortable position of bearing the responsibility of everyday governance without the freedom to shape the country’s strategic policies. As a result, the elected government, constrained both by the palace and the preferences of its constituents, is unable to develop coherent domestic strategies and often forced to improvise ad hoc policies that fail to address the country’s structural challenges.
Without the practical application of the democratic ideals enshrined in the new constitution, the country may find itself unable to address the challenges of its future.
Merouan Mekouar is an assistant professor in the department of social science at York University, Toronto. He is the author of “Protest and Mass Mobilization: Authoritarian Collapse and Political Change in North Africa” (Routledge, 2016).
Why the English Language Is Vital for the Future of Morocco.
Monday 21 March 2016 -morocco world news Casablanca
We are faced with a dilemma here in Morocco. 85% of Moroccans surveyed believe that English should replace French as the 2nd language; however, the Cultural, Economic, and Political ties with France and the French language are so strong that this change is difficult for many people to imagine.
While I completely agree with the importance of making English a priority and integrating it into the primary school curriculum, I do not agree that English should replace French as L2. In my opinion, eliminating French will do more harm than good, also creating a communication gap between the generations.
It is my sincere belief that Morocco, for the sake of its future, should make English a priority and start including it as of the first year, alongside, and not in competition with Arabic or French. Keeping one’s roots is also essential. All of the languages spoken in Morocco are a part of its identity, and replacing one language with another in the educational system, would be a fundamental error. English should not be a replacement for either French or Arabic, or even Amazigh for that matter; it is a complementary language skill.
Why is it necessary for Morocco to adopt and learn English?
Only in this way can we work unified as global citizens to meet the challenges we are facing. I do not want to see Morocco excluded from the international dialogue which will shape the future of this planet. And it is an established fact that English is the language of international communication. “The limits of my language are the limits of my world” – Ludwig Wittgenstein. Why limit our possibilities? As for who will train the teachers and design the curriculum, these are good questions, however they are only questions to be resolved, and not obstacles.
At any age, even for an adult, undoubtedly the single most effective way to learn a language is total immersion. I can say that I’ve been a bit slow at learning Darija, perhaps because I speak French. Sometimes I think that what I should do is go and isolate myself for a year in a small village somewhere where no one speaks French! Being obliged by the circumstances to learn a language in order to communicate is a guaranteed success. We could imagine that this method of learning languages, i.e. total immersion, wouldn’t do us much good as a solution for curriculum in the educational system; however I will suggest that it is perhaps indeed a solution, at least for young learners.
Language acquisition follows a different process for children than for adults. This makes the teacher’s job completely different depending on the age of the learners. To begin with, children’s cognitive processes are not as developed as adults, also, their attention span is much shorter and they are not influenced as much by affective barriers. Children are less self-conscious about making mistakes and do not feel intimidated by their peers, something which becomes very apparent from early teens and upwards. As a child, language isn’t learned; it is absorbed like a sponge. For young learners, total immersion can be practiced in a classroom setting.
The teacher doesn’t need to resort to any other language than the one being learned. The lessons should be supported by visual and audio props. They need to be involved by engaging in activities, creating, singing, playing games, and in general interacting and having fun with the other children in a relaxed environment. The children will pick up the language naturally. At this stage, there shouldn’t be the complications of explaining grammatical rules, which will only confuse them and inhibit the learning process. They learn by repeating, by trial and error, just as they learn L1 in the home environment. This facility for language learning at an early age underlines the importance of integrating English language learning into the public and private primary school curriculum. Furthermore, it has been shown that children can learn four or five different languages simultaneously with no difficulty.
As of the early teens, children start to become more self-conscious; they become afraid of making mistakes in front of their classmates. Putting the emphasis on teamwork and having discussion between partners as opposed to making a student speak in front of the whole class can help to avoid the affective blocks which are possible due to fear of being laughed at. Many of the same teaching methods, e.g. singing and games, can still be very effective; they should be involved in activities which interest them. Use of new technologies is very stimulating (let them use their smart phones to work on projects!).
In the case that the target language has similarities with the L1, these can be used as well for reinforcement, as the learners will be able to make correlations. This may also allow them to feel more comfortable. It is helpful from this stage onwards if the teacher has at least some basic knowledge of L1, which will allow better communication and even explanations. Resorting to a familiar language can even be a real advantage to learning vocabulary for teenagers and adults because of words which are common to one of their first languages, e.g. between French and English.
There are some 25,000 common words between French and English, 99% of which mean the same thing. This is another reason for keeping the French language alive in Morocco; it can only help in the acquisition of the English language for many people. Grammar should be taught, but should not be the core of the teaching; it should only be used to explain why a structure is used in a given circumstance. The learners should first be exposed to the language and use it in context to communicate. The grammar can be taught afterwards to help them to understand, but in no case for the sake of the grammar itself.
We must also bear in mind that while the methods of teaching differ depending on the age of the learners, the ultimate goal is the same; communication. Learning a language without this goal is meaningless, and if you don’t set clear objectives for your lessons the efforts will be fruitless. Speaking of efforts; learners of any age need to have their efforts recognized. This helps to build confidence and self-esteem and develops a growth mindset (Dr. Carol Dweck), which motivates the learners to take on new and more difficult tasks.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin
In fact, Benjamin Franklin was far ahead of his time, for he was already describing what we now call the communicative approach. The first phrase “tell me and I forget” corresponds to an old traditional model where education in general, and not only in language learning, has been ineffective using the teacher over student approach. The second phrase “teach me and I may remember” is equivalent to the teacher to student approach, and is still ineffective.
The last part of the quote “involve me and I learn” brings us to the communicative approach, which is now a widely accepted standard. The language teacher’s role is firstly to be a model for correctness of expression that the learners can emulate, and secondly to stimulate interaction, communication, and extensive speaking by the learners. They should be involved in interactive communication throughout most of the lesson. It is the learners who need to learn to speak the language, not the teacher! Involvement also means making learning tasks meaningful and relevant, in this way the learners are communicating as if in the real world. They are involved in learning, and they will remember what they’ve learned.
The key to effective language learning, as Dr. Stephen Krashen puts it in a nutshell, is “comprehensible and interesting input in a low anxiety environment”,” i.e. without the affective blocks of low motivation, low self-esteem, and high anxiety which can act as a barrier to the input reaching the “Language Acquisition Devise” of the brain.
There are many conditions for success in language learning, such as; positive attitude, developing a growth mindset, creativity, adaptation, and using effective tools and methods which have been tried and tested. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel; we only need to use what we have in a creative way. In my opinion, however, having “Native speakers” as teachers is not one of these conditions.
Every new language we speak opens new possibilities, and likewise, our possibilities are limited by our languages. We are called to expand the limits of our horizons to encompass the whole world, and English is the only language which has this possibility. For the next generation, and for the future of the planet, let us make global communication a priority.
Ali Anthony Bell – Head of Studies BKHS Language Center, Casablanca
Ministry of National Education to Require Future Teachers to Master English.
Saturday 19 March 2016 - Larbi Arbaoui Taroudant
Morocco’s Minister of National Education and Vocational Training Rashid Belmokhtar said on March 15 that a certain level of English and French fluency is a prerequisite for candidates to access the regional training centers for educational careers.
In a press conference held on Tuesday in Rabat, the minister said that candidates are required to master both the English and French languages in order to be considered for employment at the Ministry of National Education.
Since his appointment as head of the ministry, Belmokhtar has highlighted the importance of learning and enhancing the teaching of foreign languages as a way to meet the requirements of the global labor market and access scientific and technological developments available in those languages.
“The opening of the national education system to foreign languages, especially in sciences, is essential to improve the ability of younger generations to access the labor market and enhance the competitiveness of Morocco in a rapidly changing world,” the minister said during his interview with MAP.
In response to a wave of criticism from advocates of Arabization in Morocco’s educational system, Belmokhtar said that teaching students foreign languages would not have any negative impact on the status of the Arabic language in the national education system. He said that the Arabic language has its own privileged position as a constitutional language that no other language can compete with.
Since the beginning of this school year, teacher trainees have boycotted training classes in the diverse regional training centers across Morocco in protest against the ministerial decrees N: 588-15-2 and N: 589-15-2 which separate training from recruitment, and reduce the training scholarship by half. After several meetings, representatives of teacher trainees and the government did reach a mutually accepted solution to end the teacher trainees’ long strike.
Was that William S. Burroughs at the next table?
La Petit Soco still throbs as one of the highlights of the old medina of Tangier. Sitting at a table at Café Tingis at the top of the plaza, I sipped café au lait and imagined that Burroughs, Ginsberg, and Corso were the fellows smoking cigarettes next to me. Names have been changed to protect the innocent, but I saw ascots, a purple jacket, a long-haired silken dachshund, an Arab n with a head scarf, wing-tip shoes, and a young man with black and gold mini dreds. And wait – those two sinister men with dark glasses at the table in the corner… are they – gasp – spies? “Hey mister, want to buy some kif?” The atmosphere is not to be missed.
I stayed at Hotel Mauritania, a good, inexpensive hotel right on the Petit Soco. The hotel is not fancy, but is clean and convenient as a base for exploring the Tangier medina. I enjoyed having breakfast and coffee in Café Tingis downstairs on La Place Souk Dakhel.
A gem of American history in the Tangier Medina in the American Legation. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1982. It was the first (and only) such listing or designation in a foreign country. Originally given to the United States in 1821 by Sultan Moulay Suliman, the building and property were expanded over the years. During World War II it served as headquarters for United States intelligence agents. When Morocco became independent in 1956, Morocco’s capital moved to the city of Rabat, and diplomatic embassies moved there. Although still owned by the US government, the building is now run as a museum by a private foundation.
In addition to the attractive architecture of the building as it spans a small alley, the American Legation offers some colorful historical footnotes for those who take the time to explore the museum. In 1777, Sultan of Morocco Sidi Mohammed was the first head of state to recognize the new American nation. The museum contains copies of correspondence between the Sultan and George Washington, historic maps of Morocco and North Africa, and details of Barbary pirates.
There is an entire wing dedicated to the American expatriate writer Paul Bowles. He was the author of “The Sheltering Sky”, a 1949 novel of post-colonial alienation and existential despair. My favorite Paul Bowles quote is: “I don’t use a typewriter. It’s too heavy, too much trouble. I use a notebook, and I write in bed. Ninety-five percent of everything I’ve written has been done in bed.”
Night Train to Marrakech
More Trains with Names: I took the “Night Train to Tangier,” and then on my return two weeks later, the “Night Train to Marrakech.” The railroads are run by ONCF, which is from French: Office National des Chemins de Fer du Maroc. Much of the network is electrified.
Savy travelers board the train in the late evening, having booked a “couchette”, a space in a 4-berth-compartment. The price is about $36, and you arrive in the morning at your destination, having saved the price of a hotel room. And in my head are the words of the Crosby, Stills, & Nash song, “Take the train from Casablanca heading south.”
A word about languages: the official language in Morocco is Arabic. The next two most used languages are French and Berber. French is a legacy of the French colonial occupation of the country. When I went to a Rotary Club meeting in Marrakech, the language spoken was French. Spanish is also spoken in the parts of the country (mainly in the north) that were under Spanish colonial occupation.
Chefchaouen: The Blue City
My last prolonged stop in Morocco was in Chefchaouen, the beautiful “blue city” in the Rif Mountains. After a hectic two months of traveling, I found this small mountain city so delightful and relaxing that I stayed longer than I had planned.
The old medina is a mixture of Moroccan and Andalucian influence with red-tiled roofs and buildings painted in different shades of blue. Chefchaouen was originally established in the late 1400’s, when Moorish and Jewish refugees came here fleeing from the Reconquista of Spain. The tradition of blue supposedly comes from the town’s former Jewish population. The streets are cleaner and better taken care of than any other city I visited in Morocco.
I had lunch at Aladdin’s Terrace (kefka tagine with egg) and wandered through the medina: beautiful shades of blue, curves, odd corners, grape vines above some of the alleys, kids playing, water fountains, glimpses of distant mountains… Also, vendors of numerous delicious varieties of olives, colorful displays of spices, fresh rounds of bread, cheeses, nuts, pastries, cigarettes (individual or by the pack), bright red handmade carpets, heavy wool djellabas…
Another day wandering through the hilly lanes: I walked through Bab Osnar (Osnar Gate) to where women washed their laundry next the river. Returning to the medina, I stopped at a restaurant with an elaborately carved wooden sign and had a delicious lunch (eggplant and tomato salad, chicken with mushroom sauce, and eau gazeoise). Then I explored the old Kasbah (fortress). Inside I discovered a stalwart dungeon with iron grilles on the windows high on the walls, thick wooden doors, and chains and manacles.
And then there were cats. Cats abounded in all the medinas I visited in Morocco, and Chefchaouen was no exception. But I almost never saw a dog. When I questioned Moroccan friends about this, I was told that dogs were considered unclean. They said that dogs were alright for herding sheep, but not indoors as pets.
Hostel Aline was perhaps my favorite place to stay during my two months in Morocco. It is a small hostel, with very friendly people running it. Breakfast is simple – coffee or tea, delicious bread, butter, and jam – and is served on the roof terrace with breathtaking views of the Rif Mountains. A woman who works there will wash your clothes for a reasonable charge. As a wired modern traveler, one feature I appreciated was that the hostel had multiple outlets for charging electronic devices such as cell phones, kindles, laptops, and camera batteries.
The two months in Morocco went far too quickly. I have memories of places and good people that will last a lifetime.
In the midst of all the uproar about Muslims, I am glad I went with my decision to spend some time living among Muslims in a Muslim country. As I suspected, they are not the evil monsters that we are led to believe. No doubt there are Muslims who are bad people, just as there are bad Christians (or insert here the group of your choice).
A quick snapshot: We were having breakfast on the roof terrace in Chefchaouen, the blue city, with the jagged Rif Mountains towering above us. The doors of the elementary school next door opened, and the children erupted into the playground for recess. Although we could not hear individual voices, the sounds and laughter were that of children all over the world.
Editor’s Note: Since retiring from Los Alamos County in September 2013, David Griggs has been traveling the world. He is a foreign correspondent for the Los Alamos Daily Post, submitting stories and photographs of his travels for publication.
An Adventurer’s Guide to the Best Argan Oil in Marrakech
March 25, 2016 by Marcia DeSanctis
In Marrakech these days, the streets are paved with gold. Liquid gold, that is. Argan oil. End to end, shop by shop, in the narrow alleyways of the souk and on display in the rollicking central Jemaa el Fnaa, this transcendental beauty elixir is as copious as Morocco’s sultry sunshine. Argan oil’s praises have been sung by Selena Gomez, Madonna, and Kim Kardashian West, an A-list of enduring beauties who are said to slick themselves generously with it as a vital and possibly transformative component to their skin-care regimens.
Because of its diverse benefits, argan is somewhat of a superfood for the hair and complexion. Its effects are known to be anti-aging, therapeutic, and simply sensual. Deep yellow with a barely perceptible grassy aroma, it is quickly absorbed and has the ability to moisturize deep into the skin, which helps erase wrinkles and brighten a lackluster complexion. For the hair, it adds depth and shine to dreary locks. Loaded with vitamin E, fatty acids, and anti-inflammatory properties, argan oil treats scars, acne, eczema, and psoriasis. It is both glamorous and a highly effective workhorse and made from nuts that are endemic to Morocco, making it one of the country’s most visible national treasures.
The argan tree grows only in the Sous Valley, a 9,900-square-mile area south and east of the Atlantic beach resort of Essaouira. Women’s cooperatives have sprung up throughout the area and have greatly improved the livelihoods of Berber women, who are tasked with the production of argan oil. (Many Western brands, such as Neal’s Yard Remedies, have partnered with these co-ops.) The nuts resemble almonds in their whole form, and once they are cracked with the help of stones, the fruit is ground into thick paste from which the oil is extracted. Or the nuts are roasted and reduced by the cold-press process into cooking oil.
If a journey to the cooperatives is not in the cards, it’s satisfying to pick up a few bottles in Marrakech, close to the source, especially when awed by the dewy complexions of local women who are said to swear by the stuff. I was advised to beware: Much of the product crowding the stalls in the souk is either adulterated, impure, or actually cooking oil bottled to look like a cosmetic (though if it bears the name of a women’s cooperative on the label, it should be safe). I consulted the concierge at La Mamounia, arguably the finest hotel in Morocco, about the best place for argan oil. I knew he would steer his worldly guests right, and he duly pointed me to aromatic heaven.
Located in an immaculate but otherwise nondescript mall on the road to the Menara, the Nectarome boutique brims with creams and oils fashioned from Morocco’s most fragrant healing plants—rose, orange blossom, Barbary fig, lavender, rosewood. There is ghassoul soap made from the country’s famous restorative clay, and luscious nigel and sweet almond oils for the skin. Its argan oil is as pure as it gets—cold-pressed, along with all of the extracts used in the line, in its own organic gardens located in the Ourika Valley, just 20 miles from Marrakech. Best to apply argan oil neat, but I could not resist a bottle of the most divine concoction I’ve ever smelled— a serum of argan, neroli, and fig oils.
I stumbled upon the second place, located in the upper floor of a small building outside the medina, and it was a nostalgic bit of happenstance. For anyone who remembers Kiehl’s when it was a one-room apothecary on Third Avenue in New York City, Herboristerie Firdaous brings the same sense of old-world comfort. Like Nectarome, the store is a tribute to Morocco’s sweeping floral and plant diversity, and its shelves are crammed with essential oils, scented waters, lotions, and serums. If you are fortunate, owner Mohamed Lougdali will be behind the counter to dispense advice on herbal remedies and suggestions for aromatherapy. Pure rosemary, thyme, mint, sage, and rose oils are made from plants gathered from rural farms and bottled in basic brown vials. All are organic (or biologique) and distilled in Lougdali’s own factory, as is its divine argan oil, which costs all of 5 euros a bottle. My added temptation here was an infusion of pure chamomile, a balm for my tired, traveling eyes.
One more cream bears mentioning, which I dug into in a fit of argan frenzy in the Majorelle Blue and sunset-orange halls of the Mamounia spa. The building was recently renovated to desert perfection, but the 20-acre garden remains as it was when the hotel was built in 1923—a green oasis of rosebushes and flowering plants lined with palm, orange, and ancient olive trees.
I crossed into the richly embellished but thoroughly Zen interior pool, framed by white Moroccan arches and mosaiced columns, and soon found myself in the deep sanctuary of the spa. Tiled and toasty from the heat of the steam rooms, the space was thick with an aromatic bouquet of orange flower, lavender, and rose, as well as a hint of eucalyptus from black soap used in traditional hammam rituals.
Here, they use the product line MarocMaroc, based in the capital Rabat, for many of the treatments (the pure organic argan oil sold in the hotel’s boutique is created for La Mamounia by Les Arômes du Maroc). The line’s facial cream, Richesse d’Arganier, is a blend of argan oil, honey, and date extract. Buttery, rich, and full-bodied, I swear I could feel it tend to all that ailed me, smoothing out the creases and bringing that sunlit Marrakech glow to my face.
Fourth Place Cart of the Year: La Camel:
Slow-and-low ceramic-pot cooking straight outta Fez. (Michaela Fujita-Conrads)
By Sophia June Published March 22
521 SW 9th Ave., 778-0604. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
Karim Baziou moved to the United States from his native Morocco 15 years ago. But it's been almost 30 years since he got his start in restaurants, as a 16-year-old working in his family's restaurant in Fez, one of Morocco's great food cities, before selling paintings to help finance his own cafe and catering business, which still operates in Fez today. After moving to the U.S., he worked as a chef and manager in restaurants, but kept noticing a lack of traditional Moroccan food in Portland—aside from tiny Tangier downtown and swanky Marrakesh in Nob Hill. He had dreams of opening a restaurant again.
His downtown cart, La Camel, which he opened a little over a year ago, is now one of the best—and most affordable—Moroccan spots in the city. "People don't want to pay $30 or $40 for a Moroccan meal," he says, but adds, "It's some of the best food in the world if it's cooked correctly." His cart does not serve Americanized fare. "I make my food how I would eat it in Morocco," he says, although he will make modifications for allergies. His tiny cart offers impressive variety, offering seafood paellas ($8.50-$9), couscous dishes and Moroccan sandwiches ($7.75-$8.75). But the centerpiece is the tagines—the slow-cooked, clay-pot cuisine of Morocco. The tagine-cooked lamb shank ($12) is Flintstones-thick, and the kefta tagine ($8.75) is a juicy stew of lamb meatballs and tomato topped with egg and dotted with olives, leaving a lingering aftertaste that nonetheless understays its welcome.
In the future, Baziou would still like to open a restaurant. But that's still a ways off, he says. "At the moment, I'll just focus on establishing myself and making a connection with the people. It doesn't come easy," he says. "If you don't love what you're doing, you're not going to last. That's what keeps me going."
Manuel Galdeano, president of Murgiverde:"Spain is moving its horticultural production to Morocco"
The Almeria-based cooperative Murgiverde, one of the largest Spanish agricultural companies in terms of turnover, has warned about the increasing relocation of the production, which is moving to Morocco in search of lower labour costs. This was explained by its president, Manuel Galdeano, who recalled that some vegetables, like green beans, have stopped being harvested in Almeria or have been reduced to insignificant volumes. According to Galdeano, in the case of tomatoes, competition from Morocco "has increased noticeably," especially since the introduction of the new entry prices for imports.
The growth of imports from the Alawite country "has been outrageous" and, "in fact, last year and the current one have been disastrous" for the tomatoes from Almeria, he affirmed. He pointed out that Morocco is constantly gaining weight as a producer of courgettes or peppers, and it is a country that, in some agricultural areas, it has even greater water availability than Almeria. "Here we are not constructing the necessary infrastructure and rains are scarcer every year," he stated. He also recalled that "the wage gap between Morocco and Almeria is abysmal. The productions that require more labour continue to relocate little by little, almost without us realising it."
Faced with increasing competition from Morocco, he argued that "Almeria has to show a commitment to innovation, quality and service to offset our higher labour costs or, otherwise, we will face great difficulties in the future." Asked about the development of the current campaign, he said that it has been "atypical," because the warm winter has advanced the production and caused some overlapping in the European markets. To this we must add the impact of the closure of the Russian market, where Murgiverde sold tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines and peppers, which has pushed prices down.
The cooperative's partners have harvested 100,000 tonnes of cucumbers and peppers this year, to which its watermelon or tomato productions, for example, will be added. In any case, he expects the increase in the number of members, in the acreage and in the production volume of organic products will help compensate for the current difficulties, because "prices are pretty bad and it will be difficult for us to recover."
Abandoned Church In Morocco Becomes Colorful Street Art Masterpiece.
View it here: http://www.dmarge.com/2016/03/okuda-transforms-abandoned-church-in-morocco.html
Product review: Organix Renewing Argan oil of Morocco shampoo
Have you tried the Argan Oil of Morocco shampoo? Check out my review of the product!
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