Scaling up quinoa value chain to improve food and nutritional security in poor rural communities of Morocco
Crop improvement and sustainable production
Quinoa is a revenue-generating crop that has the potential to improve the livelihoods of poor smallholder farmers in areas with extreme soil and climatic conditions. As such, it is well suited for addressing income challenges faced by smallholder farmers of marginal areas of Rehamna in Morocco. Quinoa was introduced in Morocco in the 2000s, however its production has been constrained by lack of access to well-adapted and high-yielding cultivars, inappropriate crop management practices, weak value chains and limited market demand.
The demand for quinoa is growing and many farmers have taken the initiative to grow quinoa in various regions across the country. However, yield and production have been highly variable and inconsistent, averaging only 0.3-0.5 t/ha, while the maximum attainable yield can be up to 0.8-1.0 t/ha. A range of factors affect quinoa production, including the choice of cultivars, optimal sowing date, nutrient management, etc. Production and processing constraints that still need to be overcome in Morocco – in addition to those mentioned - include problems with seedling stand establishment, sensitivity to high temperatures and salinity, weed control and, more importantly, lack of knowledge about appropriate crop production/management practices. There is also a need to raise greater awareness among farmers, relevant government entities, the private sector and the general public about quinoa’s economic benefits and its potential as a stress-tolerant alternative crop for marginal environments.
Mohamed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), Rehamna Province, Ministry of Agriculture departments
Dr. Hirich Abdelaziz