Celebrating World Food Day with second High Atlas Food Market
By Pommelien da Silva Cosme, Morocco Programme Director; Hafida Mazoud, GDF Rural Entrepreneurship Consultant and Mohamed Ouknin, MBLA Local Product Commercialisation Coordinator
Photos by Ibtissam Bouseta
World Food Day is a global event celebrated annually on 16 October to raise awareness about hunger and the importance of providing access to affordable, nutritious and safe food for all.
To celebrate this special day, we organised our second High Atlas Food Market during the Harvest Festival Marrakech to promote biodiversity-friendly and local products and to connect rural producers with urban customers.
Building on the success of the first edition in May 2021 and in partnership with Moroccan Biodiversity & Livelihoods Association (MBLA), we invited 11 rural cooperatives to participate in the market by hosting a food stand to introduce and sell their delicious High Atlas products. We organised the market at Terre D’Éveil Marrakech, a holistic centre for health and well-being, which hosts a weekly outdoor market for local farmers and producers. By having cooperative members present to interact directly with market visitors, we raised awareness about the importance of knowing where your food comes from, how it is produced and how it supports local livelihoods.
Compared to our first High Atlas Food Market in May 2021, we received more visitors and overall sales of the participating cooperatives increased by half. We found that these two markets have so far offered important learning opportunities for cooperatives in selling their products, engaging with and attracting new customers, and practising different sales techniques.
“The importance of High Atlas Food Market lies in bringing different communities to work together from Azilal, Demnate and Al Haouz in these uncertain times of the pandemic,”
“The importance of High Atlas Food Market lies in bringing different communities to work together from Azilal, Demnate and Al Haouz in these uncertain times of the pandemic,” says Hafida, GDF Rural Entrepreneurship Consultant. “From an urban perspective, we don’t have the opportunity to meet the people who grow and produce our food, and the High Atlas Food Market has become a hub to learn about importance of local production while socialising and chilling with your family and friends to taste real flavours from the High Atlas, support small producers, and nourish ourselves literally and figuratively,” she continued.
The day after the market, MBLA organised two workshops for cooperative members on traditional soap-making and aromatherapy products, facilitated by Terre D’Éveil’s founder Rachid Jaafari. The workshops aimed at providing cooperatives with a fresh perspective on developing and improving their products and by-products. Participants learned how to make and blend essential oils and use organic raw materials that preserve their benefits in soap making. Based on the cooperatives’ positive feedback on the workshops, we are developing a series of trainings as part of our objective to strengthen the capacity of cooperative members in product development and marketing.