CBA Morocco: Vetiver Grass and Conservation Farming in Sidi Majbeur

Introduction

The Sidi Majbeur community, located in the foothills of Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains, has a population of 350 people. The main livelihood in the community is subsistence farming. Increasingly severe rainstorms and decreasing overall rainfall have led to increased erosion and land degradation in the ecosystem.

This Community-Based Adaptation project is based on the pilot application of vetiver, a drought-resistant tropical grass that reduces erosion and also has some commercial properties. Vetivar will be planted in combination with fruit trees to establish better topsoil retainment practices, rehabilitate farmable lands, and diversify income.

Note: This project has been discontinued.

This project was part of Morocco's Community-Based Adaptation portfolio. *

Project Details

The village of Sidi Majbeur is located in the foothills of the Middle Atlas Mountains in Morocco’s Tazekka National Park. The community’s main livelihood is subsistence farming (wheat, olives, nuts, vegetables). The local climate is Mediterranean, with hot and dry summers and cold and humid winters.

But this baseline climate has been changing and is expected to change even more in the future. Intensity of rain has been noticeably increasing—and becoming more and more unpredictable—for the past 10 years, causing the nearby river to flood. This has severely aggravated soil erosion in an area prone to land degradation. All around the village, there are gullies and ravines, but gabions are by-passed by the heavy rains or destroyed altogether. Farming and grazing are impacted by climate risks, which puts more and more pressure on the local forest environment and leads to migration as families struggle to face decreasing incomes. Roads and critical infrastructures are also impacted, putting pressure on the local community’s education services, trade, economy, and social ties.

The Community-Based Adaptation project increases the resilience of the local ecosystem in the face of these changes by combating erosion and regenerating degraded soils through the pilot implementation of vetiver, a drought-resistant tropical grass. In combination with fruit trees, and complemented by locally tested resilient farming techniques, vetiver is applied as a natural and non-invasive innovation to combat erosion as well as fixate and regenerate degraded soils. It is to be planted in one pilot mountain site, in combination with resilient fruit trees (almond and carob) and an apiary. Local adaptive capacities will be strengthened through vetiver-based income generation. The project also has a strong focus on mobilizing women and youth, as well as on ongoing monitoring program to capture lessons learned from the pilot.

Partners include the Administration of Water and Forestry (WF), the US Peace Corps (PC), the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), and the local government, which will mainstream the lessons learned in local development planning.

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Key Collaborators: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Subsistence Farmers; Flood-Vulnerable Residents
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Association for the Environment and Development of Sidi Majbeur
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
The GEF Small Grants Programme
UN Volunteers
Project Status: 
Discontinued
Location: 
Rural
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
$20,008
Co-Financing Total: 
$20,925.21

Key Results and Outputs

Outcome 1.0 (funded by GTZ): Sustainable sylvo-pastoral practices implemented to reduce pressure on forest ecosystem and control erosion

Community implements a grazing management plan (Output 1.1) and organizes/trains a livestock farming group (Output 1.2).

Outcome 2.0: Ecosystem and farming resilience are reinforced in face of climate change impacts

Plant drought-resistant vetiver grass on pilot mountain site to fixate and regenerate soil (Output 2.1), and plant resilient fruit and forestry trees on 3 pilot sites to consolidate terraces and retain soil (Output 2.2). Improve farming techniques and water management through pilot parcels and drip-irrigation trials (Output 2.3).

Outcome 3.0: Community’s adaptive capacities sustainably strengthened through capacity-building and income diversification

Implement a comprehensive on-site training program encompassing soil and water conservation/management, along with resilient farming practices (Output 3.1). Develop new income-generating activities through training on vetiver-, fruit-tree-, and beekeeping-based products (Output 3.2).

Outcome 4.0: : Lessons learned capitalized, promoted and disseminated for mainstreaming and upscaling

Mobilize local youth to monitor and promote the project (Output 4.1). Realize and disseminate communication tools aimed at promoting lessons learned (Output 4.2), and foster basis to sustain dissemination into the future (Output 4.3). Evaluate, capitalize upon, and upscale project results (Output 4.4).

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation will be undertaken by the following entities:

Local Project Committee

A committee is assembled within the community as project leaders. This committee will meet regularly to make sure the project remains on track. This group will report on the progress of the project and if we are meeting our goals. A Peace Corps Volunteer will be involved in this process as a fresh experienced eye.

Youth monitoring group

The day-to-day monitoring will be implemented by the Youth Reporting Group, under the supervision of the association, the Peace Corps Volunteer and the Water and Forest.

Involvement of partners

All partners (CBA, GTZ, Peace Corps, Water and Forest and Proponent) will meet every three months, before each reporting phase, and support the proponent.

Contacts

UNDP
CBA Project Management Unit