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Rabat – Morocco has experienced remarkable changes during two decades, crowned by a series of development projects. During 22 years of reign, HM King Mohammed VI gave a strong impetus to various sectors, in particular politics, economy, culture and the environment, which remains one of the major projects. The Sovereign has thus put in place harmonious, effective and efficient strategies and initiatives with clear and precise objectives.

HM the King has launched development programs sustainable to preserve the natural resources of the Kingdom, in this case the oasis zones and the argan tree, which constitutes a natural national heritage of great importance. These include the National Agency for the Development of Oasis Zones and Argan (ANDZOA).

The Agency has been monitoring since its creation in 2010 , to support vast areas of Oasis and Argan, which constitute nearly 40% of the territory. Significant results have been achieved within the framework of the 2012-2020 program, aimed at improving socio-economic indicators and supporting the environmental systems of oases and the argan tree.

The Agency’s support for these areas consists of guaranteeing access to basic services (electricity, drinking water, road development), the contribution to the education and health sectors, as well as economic activities, particularly agriculture.

In 2019, ANDZOA was able to achieve the objectives of this program which provided for the planting of 3 million palm trees in By 2020, the reorganization of palm farms which cover an area of ​​50,000 ha, the creation of new plantations over an area of ​​17,000 ha, as well as the development of the sector.

Production has thus increased from 90,000 tonnes annually before the Green Morocco Plan to 127,000 currently, thanks to the import rtance granted by the Agency to oases and producers, especially young people.

ANDZOA plans to set up a new 10-year strategy, which follows to a study drawn up in this context. The objective being to create an integrated development in the oasis areas, through the launch of projects to support young workers in this sector, ensure their organization within the framework of cooperatives, as well as the creation of new jobs related to the oasis tourism sector.

The Sovereign also launched in 2013 the development strategy for oasis areas and the argan tree which aims at the global and integrated development of these areas which cover nearly 40 pc of the national territory (5 regions, 16 provinces and 400 municipalities) and the enhancement of the economic, natural and cultural resources with which they abound, in addition to the protection of ecosystems.

In this sense, the president of the International Center for Studies and Strategic Research of Space Governance and Sustainable Development in Oases and Mountains (ERSG-SDDOM), Aziz Bentaleb underlined, in a statement to the MAP , that the proclamation of International Argan Day by the United Nations General Assembly is an important recognition of Morocco’s efforts in the protection and enhancement of this plant wealth, as cultural, socio-economic and ecological heritage.

This decision is the result of a series of pleas launched by Morocco in all international meetings on the preservation of the environment and the promotion of the maintenance of fragile ecosystems, which have a important role in the mitigation of global warming and desertification, as well as in the achievement of sustainable development goals, said the professor at the Center for Historical and Environmental Studies of the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture (IRCAM).

This Royal strategy has contributed to many achievements on the ground, including a drop in the poverty rate, which fell from 13.4% to 6.8% between 2007 and 2019, creating more than 92,000 p ostes in the oasis and argan zones between 2012 and 2019, said Mr. Bentaleb, adding that she has also contributed to the strengthening of infrastructure and access to basic services, including rural electrification, the supply of drinking water, and the opening up of many douars in these areas.

Concerning date palms, numerous afforestation and planting operations of palm trees took place in various Moroccan oases, notably in Drâa Tafilalet, as part of the Green Morocco Plan, aimed at improving agricultural production and linking the oases to job creation.

Colossal efforts have been made within the framework of a global Royal vision which has always taken care to preserve and develop this rare resource, with economic, social, cultural and environmental dimensions.