Project Activities

The project will be implemented in two phases. During the first phase, a business model will be developed and tested during a period of one year. Based on the outcomes of the pilot phase, a scaling up strategy will be developed and implemented during the second phase, spanning two years.

Pilot phase (A)

The pilot phase will be implemented on 200 smallholder farms in Rhamna Province of the Marrakesh-Safi Region. This area was selected due to the following reasons:

  • Around 6,000 families living in Rhamna fall under the national poverty threshold
  • A quinoa value chain already exists in Rhamna, but needs to be upgraded
  • The main cash crop grown in the area, Opuntia ficus-indica, has been totally destructed by an insect (Cochenille)
  • There is an active gender empowerment program being implemented in the area with the support of the local authorities
  • There is political will to further promote and enhance quinoa production in Rhamna, as demonstrated by the governor’s support
  • The OCP Foundation has indicated that it would be interested to support the project in this area
  • Representatives of the Ministry institutions (Direction Provincial Agriculture, Direction Regionale Agriculture, Office Nantional Conseil Agricole) are very active in Rhamna  and very supportive to the project
  • The Mohamed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), located in Rhamna, would like to involve students pursuing Master degrees in studies related to the project
  • The Hassan II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine (IAV HASSAN II) has been actively involved in Rhamna, working with the local quinoa association (Association Chabab M’khalif Bouchane) and undertaking some studies

The first component of the pilot phase will develop a business model in collaboration with the local farmers’ association, Association Chabab M’khalif Bouchane, which cultivates quinoa today on about 50 hectares of land.  During this phase the project will assess the existing quinoa value chain, develop appropriate training packages and other intervention tools and modalities. The second component will introduce the most suitable quinoa cultivars and best agricultural practices to ensure optimum production of quinoa in the targeted rural areas. The third component will establish linkages between farmers and other value chain actors and test the developed business model.

Component A.1: Development of a comprehensive business model for establishing a quinoa value chain

Output A.1.1: Gaps and weaknesses in the existing value chain identified and taken into account in the formulation of business model implementation plans  

Activity A.1.1.1: Assess the existing value chain in Rhamna, in which the local quinoa association Chabab M’Khalif Bouchane participates, to identify gaps and weaknesses at all stages, including in production, extension services, provision of inputs, post-harvest processing and value addition, and marketing.

Activity A.1.1.2: Develop a plan to address the identified gaps/weaknesses and enhance the existing value chain business model in Rhamna.

Output A.1.2: Value chain actors identified and engaged

Activity A.1.2.1: Establish linkages between local extension services and farmers participating in the pilot project.  

Activity A.1.2.2: Establish new or engage existing women’s cooperatives that will be responsible for the processing of quinoa and/or production of quinoa-based food products.

Activity A.1.2.3: Identify input suppliers who would be willing and capable of providing the necessary inputs (seeds, equipment, fertilizer, etc.).

Activity A.1.2.4: Identify traders who would be willing to purchase the produce of smallholder farmers and womens’ cooperatives involved in the pilot phase.

Output A.1.3: Recipes for quinoa-based products developed

Activity A.1.3: Develop recipes of quinoa-based nutrient-rich food products. The project will establish linkages between farmers, food technologists, nutritionists and agro-food industries, which would enable the development of products adapted to meet local, regional and national needs and taste preferences (e.g. couscous made with quinoa flour, high-protein bread, etc.). These recipes will be provided as part of the training package to farmers (to promote household consumption of quinoa) and local women’s cooperatives (for value addition), as well as made available to the general public through various forms of media.

Output A.1.4: Demand for quinoa assessed and marketing and pricing strategy developed   

Activity A.1.4.1: Analyze consumer demand for quinoa and quinoa-based products available in local markets (including consumer willingness to pay for different food attributes)

Activity A.1.4.2: Analyze the competitiveness of quinoa and quinoa-based products vis-à-vis alternative foods in local markets

Activity A.1.4.3: Develop a marketing and pricing strategy for the quinoa-based food products on the basis of the aforementioned analyses.

Output A.1.5: Training packages developed for all value chain actors   

Activity A.1.5: Develop appropriate training packages to build the necessary capacity along the quinoa value chain, including that of farmers (in production), extension workers (in provision of extension services to farmers), input suppliers (in provision of seeds and equipment), women’s cooperatives (in post-harvest processing and value addition) and traders (in marketing).

Component A.2: Introduction of high yielding cultivars and best practices for optimal productivity in the selected farms

Output A.2.1: Most productive quinoa cultivars introduced    

Activity A.2.1: introduce the most performing quinoa lines obtained from the current Moroccan quinoa program and ICBA germplasm. A productivity evaluation of introduced lines will be undertaken on  200 smallholder farms belonging to the quinoa association, with the involvement of relevant government entities and NGOs. Through these trials, ICBA and its partners will identify those lines that generate the highest yield per hectare in the agro-climatic conditions of the target area.

Output A.2.2: Farmers trained on best soil, water and pest management practices

Activity A.2.2: Introduce the best soil, water and pest management practices that result in optimal productivity. The current quinoa program in Morocco has been testing various crop management practices, including mechanical tilling, seeding, hoeing and harvesting, adjusting the sowing timing, fertilizer application and supplementary irrigation. However, for stress-prone/marginal areas, it is especially important to implement best production practices that, on the one hand, would generate economically profitable yields of high quality quinoa and, on the other hand, maintain and enhance the health of the environment. ICBA and its partners will train farmers in approaches that combine the best of modern technology with the basic principles of good traditional practices in irrigation, nutrient and pest management.

Output A.2.3: Farmers equipped with tools for quinoa harvesting, processing and storage 

Activity A.2.3: Provide farmers with appropriate and affordable mechanization tools for quinoa harvesting, processing (especially threshing and saponin) and storage (to reduce post-harvest losses), and train them in their proper use.

Output A.2.4: Organic certification secured for project-supported quinoa farms

Activity A.2.4: Assist farmers to obtain organic certification for their quinoa production and thus increase opportunities for export to international markets as well within the Country.

Component A.3: Implementation of the quinoa value chain business model

Output A.3.1: Training delivered to all value chain actors

Activity A.3.1: Deliver appropriate training to farmers, extension workers, input suppliers, processors and traders, using the training packages developed under component 1 (Output A.1.5). The training will: raise awareness among value chain actors and other stakeholders about the numerous uses and benefits of quinoa, including as a nutrient-rich food for household consumption (see Output A.1.3), as a cash crop and as a source of fodder for livestock; address the identified gaps and weaknesses in the existing value chain (see Output A.1.1); include training in optimal production practices (see Output A.2.2), processing (see Output A.2.3) and value addition (see Output A.1.3); and incorporate the developed marketing and pricing strategy (see Output A.1.2). 

Output A.3.2: Linkages established among all value chain actors

Activity A.3.2.1: Establish or strengthen value chain linkages between quinoa producers, extension workers, inputs suppliers, processors and traders. 

Activity A.3.2.2: Establish linkages between value chain actors and financial institutions that provide agricultural credit and subsidies in support of Pillar 2 of the Morocco Green Plan. Start-up and implementation costs of the business model may be high for some farmers, especially for those in remote areas. In view of this, the project will work with partner organizations, including financial institutions (e.g. Credit Agricole) that provide credit, to support farmer associations and cooperatives, processors and marketers in the production and promotion of quinoa-based products.

Output A.3.3: Business model assessed and scaling up strategy developed

Activity A.3.3.1: Assess the effectiveness of the business model piloted in the target province

Activity A.3.3.2: Formulate a scaling up strategy, taking into account the findings of the aforementioned assessment and based on best practices in scaling up approaches.

Scaling up phase (B)

The scaling up phase will have two components. The first component will scale up the developed business model in several rural communities of Rhamna. Around 1,000 families will be targeted, for a total of 5,000 people. The second component will focus on creating a favorable policy environment for scaling up quinoa production and consumption across Morocco.

Component B.1: Scaling up the business model in targeted area  

Output B.1.1: Value chain actors identified and engaged

Activity B.1.1.1: Select 1000 farmers in the Rhamna Province, based on willingness and ability to participate in the project.

Activity B.1.1.2: Establish new or engage existing farmer cooperatives involved in quinoa production in order to create economies of scale in the production, harvesting, aggregation, processing and marketing of quinoa, as well as to enhance farmers’ collective bargaining power.

Activity B.1.1.3:  Establish linkages between local extension services and farmers participating in the scaling up phase of the project.  

Activity B.1.1.4: Establish new or engage existing women’s cooperatives to process quinoa and/or produce quinoa-based food products.

Activity B.1.1.5: Engage input suppliers and traders identified during the pilot phase and/or identify new ones who would be willing to supply inputs to and purchase the produce of smallholder farmers and women’s cooperatives.

Output B.1.2: Training delivered to all value chain actors

Activity B.1.2.1: Organize Farmer Field Schools and Field Days at selected demonstration farms to train farmers in optimal production practices

Activity B.1.2.2: Deliver appropriate training to extension workers, input suppliers, processors and traders, using the training packages developed under component 1 (Output A.1.5).

Output B.1.3: Seed production systems established

Activity B.1.3:  Establish seed production systems to ensure a sustainable supply of high quality seeds of selected cultivars to farmers. Community-based seed multiplication units will be established in the targeted province, which will produce and distribute high quality seeds of selected quinoa cultivars to farmers. Excess production will be channeled to small-scale enterprises managed by women, enabling the latter to generate income by developing and marketing quinoa-based products.

Output B.1.4: Linkages established among all value chain actors

Activity B.1.4.1: Establish or strengthen value chain linkages between quinoa producers, extension workers, inputs suppliers, processors and traders. 

Activity B.1.4.2: Establish linkages between value chain actors and financial institutions that provide agricultural credit.

Output B.1.5: Demand for quinoa-based products generated

Activity B.1.5: Organization of food fairs and media events to raise awareness among household decision-makers about the benefits of quinoa consumption and the different quinoa-based products and recipes. In addition to developing the supply side of the value chain, this project component will also stimulate the demand for quinoa-based products. Quinoa recipes developed under component 2 will be disseminated through the publication of recipe books and leaflets in local languages. Given that women are the primary decision makers in relation to household food choices, advocacy and promotional activities will target women in both rural and urban environments.

Component B.2: Informing and influencing decision-makers to create a conducive policy environment

Output B.2: Conducive policy environment created for a national quinoa program

Activity B.2.1: Generate awareness concerning quinoa and its benefits among key stakeholders in the Moroccan government and the private sector through policy briefs, public events, and other forms of advocacy

Activity B.2.2: Contribute to the development of conducive policies and legal frameworks to encourage quinoa production and consumption across Morocco. The provision of enabling policies that will result in direct benefits to individual farmers is fundamental to encouraging large-scale cultivation of quinoa in the marginal areas of Morocco. Institutional frameworks are also important to consider, since a change in land use policies with regard to marginal land may be necessary to implement some options. The project team will work closely with national agricultural policy bodies, particularly those involved in Pillar 2 of the Morocco Green Plan, in scaling up the business plan developed at Rhamna nation-wide. A local Private company will be developed for seed services to create a conducive environment for the development of a sustainable quinoa seed sector and facilitate cross-border seed trade through harmonized regulatory systems for seeds (e.g. variety release system, seed certification scheme, phytosanitary measures, etc.).