As the new year begins, the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) would like to invite Moroccan communities to aid in the planting of thousands of trees on Monday, January 20th, 2020, in celebration of “Annual Tree Planting Day 2020.” The third Monday in January is chosen for this momentous event to commemorate the life and pursuit of justice led by Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King recognized the power of volunteering: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
The Foundation’s President, Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, describes the aim of the day as a means to “promote the spirit of planting at this time of the year,” inviting “not only farmers and community associations to get involved, but also schools, parents’ associations, women, cooperatives, children, interfaith groups and all those that would like to participate in planting this season’s life-giving trees.”
“We will be coordinating planting events in the Provinces of Al Haouz, Azilal, Boujdour, Errachidia, Essaouria, Fes, Marrakech, Oujda, Taroudant, and Taza,” said Dr. Ben-Meir. Using plants provided by HAF nurseries (in partnership with Ecosia) and the High Commission of Waters and Forests, the Foundation expects to donate over 8,000 organic fruit tree saplings and medicinal plants to communities across the country. This will include high-value crops of argan, almond, carob, pomegranate, fig, olive, walnut, and other endemic medicinal plants. HAF and community partners will plant hundreds of thousands of trees over the course of the 2020 season.
HAF Director of Projects, Amina El Hajjami, discusses the positive effects of planting trees, saying that this action “not only generates significantly higher incomes for farmers and local families compared to the traditional crops of barley and corn, but [the trees] also provide food security and environmental rehabilitation.”
Mrs. Elhajjami goes on to assert that “local communities can see returns from fruit tree harvests within two years for pomegranate trees and 5 years for almond and carob trees.”
Dr. Ben-Meir encourages “all communities across Morocco to make the most of this year’s tree planting season and invest in their future livelihoods today. [HAF] will be present in different parts of the country on Monday the 20th of January to assist those who may have never planted before, [and show them] how to plant their trees for optimal results.”