Since 2008, the Club Med has been providing financial support to Agrisud International. This French NGO is combating job insecurity and poverty by assisting in the creation of very small profitable and eco-friendly businesses in the farming sector. In Morocco, its endeavours include encouraging sustainable fruit farming at Asni in the Atlas Mountains.
About Agrisud International
Agrisud, 'the NGO which creates businesses', is engaged in the struggle against poverty and in promoting the food security of poor people in many countries of the South. Since its foundation in 1992, it has been associated with the creation of 45,000 very small businesses in about twenty countries in Africa, Asia or South America and, more recently, in France.
With the help of the local partners that it trains, Agrisud provides assistance to very small farms, which are often family-owned, in order to provide producers with additional technical support (circulation of ecological farming practices), business management assistance (support in putting together and analysing operating accounts) and organisational assistance (consolidated purchases of seeds, maintaining irrigation schemes, bringing products to market, etc.)
With the Club Méditerranée
Given that, in some cases, the organisation of the local offer of fresh products could not fulfil the demand of its Resorts, Club Méditerranée sought to contribute to improving the offer provided by small local producers. This took the shape of a partnership with the Agrisud NGO, signed in the end of 2008, aimed at enabling local producers to supply the Club Med Resorts and assist them in farming their land more sustainably using agro-ecology principles.
The benefits are as follows:
- assistance to farmers entering the market economy and in the use of sustainable farming techniques so that they can ensure greater business security;
- buffets offering customers fresh local produce, which is eco-friendly and is more relevant to the region;
- secure supplies of fresh produce and an increase in the share of local purchases in the supply of Club Méditerranée;
- reducing the CO2 impact of the transportation of the products concerned;
- contributing to the relocation of smallholder farmers.
With 180 very small farms receiving assistance in five countries (Senegal, Morocco, Brazil, Indonesia, Tunisia), total support provided by the end of 2014 in excess of €500,000 and more than 50 tonnes of produce purchased, Club Med is the biggest partner of Agrisud in the tourism sector.
In Morocco, since 2010, the Igran Asni project aims to enhance the professionalism of family-owned tree farms and increase the value of their fruit production in the Asni area (Marrakesh-Tensift -El Haouz region). At grass roots level, Agrisud relies on the Norsys Foundation, a Moroccan foundation, whose goal is to facilitate access to knowledge for improve living standards and which shares its know-how of the local situation and its technical skills. Since 2010, the project has achieved the following initiatives:
- the transformation of practices in order to make farming sustainable and the implementation of management tools to aid independent decision-making;
- the creation of cooperative professional organisations to support the development of a very small businesses;
- the creation of short and equitable processing channels for bringing the produce to market.
The family farms of Asni have been able to achieve self-sufficiency, having been in a relatively vulnerable situation, making the step from an irregular conventional form of production, which prevented them from being organised, to an agro-ecological form of production based on a regular timetable that creates the right conditions for very small businesses to flourish. The challenge confronting farmers today is consolidating the professional organisation, which involves improving the value of agro-ecological production, and securing access to water.
Use of the collected funds
The purpose of the funds raised is to create irrigation systems, which enable the following:
- to secure the access to water during the critical period (June to September) and extend the farming periods
- to enlarge the available arable land.
The system will consequently generate an additional production estimated at 150 tonnes.