- Title: MOROCCO: International Agricultural Fair takes place in Meknes
- Date: 28th April 2009
- Summary: MEKNES, MOROCCO (APRIL 25, 2009) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF TRACTORS ON DISPLAY CLOSE OF SIGN IN ARABIC AND FRENCH READING 'GREEN MOROCCO' VARIOUS OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLE PLANTS ON DISPLAY MAN WATCHING SCREEN SHOWING TRACTOR WIDE OF THE MAIN ENTRANCE TO THE FAIR CLOSE UP OF THE FAIRS' POSTER WIDE OF VISITORS INSIDE FAIR WIDE SHOT OF THE PHOSPHATES OFFICE AREA FATIHA CHARRADI FROM THE PHOSPHATES STAND TALKING TO A COLLEAGUE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE (SOUNDBITE) (French) FATIHA CHARRADI FROM THE PHOSPHATES STAND SAYING: "We are African and this issue is ours, so going towards Africa, to develop African agriculture and actively participate in the green African revolution is a duty for Morocco and is translated by the efforts put forward by the country, specifically those provided by the Moroccan Phosphates Office (OCP) Moroccan Phosphates Office." CLOSE OF POSTER READING IN ARABIC 'COWS/MEAT PRODUCTION' VARIOUS OF COWS/SHEEP AT FAIR MEN LOOKING AT RABBITS VARIOUS OF RABBITS IN CAGES HONEY BEES HONEY STAND CLOSE OF A WOMAN FROM NORTH MOROCCO SELLING OLIVE OIL CLOSE OF FERTILISERS IN JARS VARIOUS OF VISITORS AT PHOSPHATES STAND
- Embargoed: 13th May 2009 13:00
- Location: Morocco
- Country: Morocco
- Topics: Industry
- Reuters ID: LVADFXG8AQTM1XBC5CK6DKE1P6XQ
- Story Text: The Moroccan city of Meknes is hosting between 22-27 April, the 4th edition of the International Agriculture fair.
The Moroccan city of Meknes hosts the 4th annual International Agricultural Fair, April 22-27, a showcase for Moroccan agriculture.
According to the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture, the fair is attended by an approximate 500,000 visitors, attracting farmers mostly, from all over the country.
Morocco expects a record cereals harvest this year after months of unusually heavy rainfall, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Aziz Akhennouch said on Tuesday (April 21), confirming forecasts by industry officials.
To reduce the agricultural dependency on rainfall, Morocco embarked last year on an ambitious 10-year programme called the "Green Plan".
The Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture says this strategy is aimed at trebling the country's agriculture and food production by 2018 at a cost of 100 billion Moroccan Dirhams (13.8 billion Dollars). The Plan will be financed by domestic public and private sectors and also by foreign investments.
If successful, it will reduce poverty in the rural world where nearly half of the population lives, improve the production of olive oil, meat, vegetables, fruit and grains.
To treble the cereals and fruit production over the 10-year plan, Moroccan agriculture will rely strongly on fertilisers and the Moroccan Phosphates Office (OCP) is heavily involved in this plan.
The Office is now hoping to implement a plan aimed at making fertilisers more affordable for farmers at all levels as well as raise awareness on safety and handling issues. OCP wants to go further by helping Africa as a whole achieve food stability.
"We are African and this issue is ours so going towards Africa, to develop African agriculture and actively participate in the green African revolution is a duty for Morocco and is translated by the efforts put forward by the country, specifically those provided by the Moroccan Phosphates Office (OCP) Moroccan Phosphates Office," said Fatiha Charradi, from the Moroccan Phosphate Office.
To conquer their challenge, the Moroccan authorities are also relying on foreign countries to invest in the local agriculture and as well as bring in their expertise and know-how.
The international wing of the Meknes Agriculture fair hosts many countries from Europe and the Americas.
To improve productivity, farmers are also using insecticides. In Ait Oulal, 15 kilometres (10 miles) west of Meknes, farm workers are exposing themselves to a number of dangers by using insecticides in a reckless way.
Abdelkarim Naaman, Chairman of an NGO called NALYSA for Development, Environment and Social work, campaigns for a greater awareness of the issue, introducing the use of gloves and masks to farmers using pesticides regularly.
In an interview with Reuters, Naaman said the insecticides have a negative affect on those using them if not handled correctly.
"These insecticides have a negative effect on the user via touch or inhalation," he said.
"They also affect the environment and therefore the consumer, locally or internationally, particularly in Europe because the bulk of our fruit and vegetables exports goes to Europe. If some insecticide residues stay on the fruits and vegetables, this could seriously negatively affect our economy because Europe is applying some strict rules about this," he added.
Naaman also advises farmers to burn all plastic bags containing insecticides, once they have been used, as they too are a health hazard and a danger to the environment.
Forty percent of Morocco's work-force is in the agricultural sector, which contributes to 14 percent of total domestic production.
Monday (April 27) is the final day of the International Agricultural Fair.
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