15 May 2017
Rif region, Morocco
Organic Food and Agriculture

The idea of relaxing in a beautiful setting like farmhouses is certainly an added bonus to agritourism. And, as one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry, agritourism may well be the next area of investment.

For Salaheddine El Azouzi, formal rural tourism, agroecology and permaculture consultant, contributing to improve the underrated image of the soil of the Moroccan Rif region is everyone’s duty to preserve traditional techniques. “Rif”, which means the countryside, is a mountainous area in northern Morocco with a few coastal valleys suitable for agriculture and urban settlement.

 

In Morocco, the valleys bridge gap for agritourism | The Switchers

Rural settings: a perfect spot for agritourism:

Armed with his background in agroecology, agroforestry, and sustainable management of mountainous agricultural lands, El Azouzi created his small green business in 2012 and named it Green Services et Terroir. The business aims at enhancing the local organic products and supporting small-scale producers through agritourism (agroecology/rural tourism).

Green Services et Terroir offers a large variety of agriculturally based experiences and services including a guest farm, a restaurant, and a small eco-hostel for national and international visitors, hiking tours, traditional cooking lessons, and training and internships in agroecology and permaculture.

All these improvements can be achieved through the addition of organic matter. This will not only provide good-quality soil, but a better environment for almost any kind of plants.

Agriculture with a touch of history and lore:

El Azouzi’s idea about the preservation of biocultural heritage of the Rif can be fulfilled through promoting territorial eco-development and enhancing local green economy. He believes that the approach of his project will contribute to the promotion by giving way to the emergence and expansion of greener practices and activities in local farms.  

The promotion of agricultural and agritourism activities, organic farming, and typical and traditional products represents innovative approaches that link modernisation of agriculture with territory and tradition.

“This rural dynamism still has great resonance, thanks, in particular, to growing tourism demand. Changing tourism trends (a hankering for the “authenticity” that is associated with local culture, local products, meeting local people, immersion with nature etc.) has encouraged many rural territories to turn to tourism in an effort to reinvigorate their economy locally,” International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies and CIHAM’s 11th annual report stated.

This cooperation between farmers and cooperatives can provide an array of services ranging from enhancing access to management of natural resources. The result of this cooperation between agriculture, tourism, and local gastronomy will enable the economic and social development of the “Jbala” rural area while further promoting environmental sustainability.

Rural dynamism through agritourism:

Tourism is an activity that creates synergy and rural dynamism between farmers, artisans, cooperatives, lodges and local cooperatives of agro-food processing to be fully productive, hence boosting production and income levels.

 

To expand the limits of its innovation, the company is committed to working with individual producers, artisans and supporting cooperatives. It also tries to integrate women and young people as much as possible in their activities in forms of creating agricultural museums and displays, camping, birthday parties, and educational activities.

The company supports the creation of farmers’ markets as well as local family-run farms. In addition, the company presents a traditional mobile catering service, based on the use of agri-food products from local producers of the Rif (cooperatives and farmers). As such, the company facilitates the development of producers’ capacities, including their technical, managerial, organizational and marketing skills, besides their ability to integrate into value chains and networks and share knowledge in the form of publications, briefing notes, and eco-friendly practices.

The charm, hospitality, and warm spirit of the people who live this rural life across the northern mountainous coasts create an ambiance distinctly unique to the Rif region. The goal of Green Services et Terroir is less about providing a unique vacation and more about fostering a deeper understanding of the farming process through education and hands-on experience, along with becoming a popular destination across the farmlands and rural settings of North Africa.

 

Photos: Courtesy of Green Services et Terroir

Green Services et Terroir Oganic food and agriculture
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