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FAO Names Argan Water System in Morocco as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage

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Argan-based agro-pastoral system in Ait Souab-Ait Mansour Region, Morocco has been named by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS).

Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) are outstanding landscapes of aesthetic beauty that combine agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and valuable cultural heritage.

The Site

The agro-forestry-pastoral system in Ait Souab-Ait Mansour is a unique region where argan trees have been cultivated for centuries. This system is based on agroforestry practices in dry stone terraces being highly resilient to arid environment, water scarcity and poor soils. It uses only locally adapted species and pastoralism activities and relies on a traditional water management provided by the Matifiya – a rain water reservoir carved into rock.

The Amazigh indigenous communities as well as communities of Arab origin have developed a specific culture and identity sharing their traditional knowledge and skills. Although farmers earn the majority of their income from the cultivation of argan trees, the integrated system also provides them with other food and material such as staple crops, cereals, fire wood, meat and wool.

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