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Morocco and India have embarked on similar models of agricultural development. These models are based on intensive water use and the transfer of this water from low value-added food crops to high-value export crops and the extension of irrigation boundaries. These water transfers are strongly encouraged by both governments through grants and other types of support and are part of a green growth model that is rooted in the belief that sustainability, which manifests itself most visibly through the use of efficient and modern water management technologies such as drip irrigation, can be combined with agricultural intensification.


However, the experiments conducted so far call this assumption into question. Indeed, studies show increasing competition for water resources and the rapid expansion of groundwater use, leading to a significant drop in groundwater levels. This endangers the livelihoods of millions of rural people. In addition, the production of high-value crops relies on cheap and flexible labor, much of which is provided by women, who are generally poor, which restructures labor and property relations along hierarchies. existing between the sexes. In summary, current paths of agricultural intensification in India and Morocco appear both unsustainable and inequitable.


Given these changes, the project aims to shed light on the social and ecological impacts of water-based agricultural growth models. It examines how contemporary processes of agricultural intensification in both countries are altering the (gendered) relations of agricultural production, particularly in relation to access to land and labour, focusing both on the relations between different people and those between people and water. To do this, it is first of all a question of examining in depth the different possible configurations of agriculture and water use and their respective dispositions in terms of gender in two regions confronted with agricultural dynamics. water-intensive (the Draa Valley in south-eastern Morocco, and the state of Maharashtra).


The results obtained will then be used to produce a range of stories of change. By documenting how different rural actors creatively renegotiate the rules of the game for their own use, thereby reimagining agricultural identities and practices, we hope to diversify and pluralize imaginings of future pathways for agricultural development models, granting special attention to those that are durable and just. Furthermore, by developing teaching materials and providing on-the-job training to Moroccan Masters students, we wish to familiarize students with these rich heterogeneities and complexities of the field.


Finally, our project aims to establish a South-South network of sustainable rural transformations with a particular focus on gender. Our purpose is to improve critical knowledge in order to identify and collectively mobilize support for alternatives to the currently dominant agricultural development models based on intensive water use.


. Progress of the project and achievement of objectives:

Objective 1: Strengthening of knowledge on the gendered impacts of water-based agricultural development models in the countries participating in the project and elsewhere.


1. Field visits and remote fieldwork

After the relaxation of restrictive measures linked to the spread of the pandemic in 2021, we were able to carry out two field missions. We thus carried out a field mission in April 2021. During this stay, we addressed two main themes:


The dynamics created by the production of watermelon in the extensions of the oases of the Draa Valley. We thus explored the following themes: i- the different categories of farmers practicing agriculture in the extensions, including foreign "Berranis" from different regions of Morocco, ii- the interest of young people in the cultivation of watermelons, iii- the economic and environmental impacts of watermelon (including a drop in the groundwater level), iv- the mobilization of local populations, on the initiative of young people, to deal with these impacts and prevent foreigners from settling in them.


Role of women within the family farm: through this axis we have explored how roles and tasks are distributed within the farm as well as the decision-making process. Our preliminary results have shown how the place of the woman within the family farm is central since she is responsible for several tasks and activities, both domestic (meal preparation, cleaning, etc.) and agricultural (cutting the alfalfa, sorting dates, etc.).


Following on from the field mission carried out in April, we have launched remote fieldwork:


· A follow-up of the various rural actors contacted during the first fieldwork with semi-structured interviews. We have started a second series of telephone interviews with different rural actors. This allowed us to understand how they apprehend their future under COVID and what effects the drought has on their daily lives and on agriculture?  These interviews showed that the drought had a greater impact on the inhabitants of the valley than the pandemic. Indeed, the drought meant that the palm tree, central element of the economy of the oasis, did not produce this year. Crops such as alfalfa and cereals have been abandoned due to lack of water among some farmers.

· A gender and water survey of about twenty women in the oases of the Draa Valley. This survey allowed us to better understand the different possible configurations of agricultural exploitation, water use and the resulting gender arrangements, as well as their ecological and social impacts.


In June 2021, we carried out another field mission. During this stay, we delved deeper into the changes that have affected gender relations and social roles in recent years. We conducted a total of 9 interviews, 7 with women and 2 with men in different oases of the valley. This allowed us to explore the different activities and aspirations of women and men and how they are affected by the various agrarian, social and water changes that have affected the valley for several years. Indeed, while young men engage or aspire to engage in agricultural projects or projects related to agriculture (installation of drip systems, solar pumping, etc.), young women engage in processing of agricultural products (dates for example) and crafts.


2. Organization and supervision of a collective internship in the Draa Valley


During the week of November 14 to 20, 2021, we organized a collective internship for the benefit of students of the Master Institutions and Social Organizations of the FLSH faculty (Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences Ain Chock, Casablanca) in the Drâa Valley . The students organized themselves into five groups and carried out empirical work around the following themes: 1) the management of irrigation water, 2) the functioning of the family farm, 3) mobility and migration, 4) young people rural areas, work and aspirations and 5) political competition and electoral campaigning. During the last day of the internship, the students returned, in the form of role plays, their research results.




3. Visibility of the project through social media


A facebook page dedicated to the project has been created:  It allows us to share our thoughts and raise public awareness around the various themes of the project and to communicate instantly around our various activities and publications. It also serves as a platform to interact with events organized by other organizations related to our project.





Objective 2: Changing the political discourse around agricultural development pathways based on “stories of change”


The discussion and analysis of the empirical data collected has been the subject of several scientific and popular publications as well as scientific communications at several conferences and workshops. Our research themes have thus interested various media who have contacted us to document the situation of oasis areas, particularly in relation to the issues of water use, drought and the impact of Covid on rural communities. . These articles receive positive echoes and allow public opinion to become aware of oasis issues.


Our themes have also interested the scientific community and activists for social and ecological justice with whom we shared our results in a communication during a conference entitled "Ecological justice, social justice and green movements" organized by the Faculty of Arts and of Human Sciences, Cadi Ayyad University. Marrakesh.

In addition, we are in the process of developing stories of change: three drawings (in the finalization phase) and 2 video clips (editing phase) that highlight different themes related to gender and gender-based agricultural development. intensive use of water.


Objective 3: Strengthened knowledge capacity on gender and alternative modes of agricultural development models in the project countries and elsewhere


During this year, there was a collaboration with a new Algerian team. Thanks to this new collaboration, fieldwork has been launched in Algeria. Thus, as part of the project, they carried out a three-week exploratory field, between March and April, in order to familiarize themselves with "gender" relations in terms of access to water and agricultural practices.


The Moroccan team held regular meetings with the other project teams (Indian, Algerian and Dutch). During these meetings, the various members exchange their results in the field and together lead a reflection on gender and alternative models of agricultural development, hence the dissemination of knowledge on an international scale.


Sharing of results and knowledge through two podcasts involving researchers from different countries and students working on water issues. These include:


1- Podcast and blog post on "Stories of impacts of Covid-19 on smallholder farmers and emerging new perspectives"

2- The T2GS podcast on the theme: “Implications of Covid-19 for small-scale agriculture in Algeria, India and Morocco”

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In an effort to popularize, the researchers led four sessions on the theme of the adaptation of oases to global warming for the benefit of students from the Anatole France college.


Organization of an online session live from the field with farmers and sociology students from Hassan II University, Casablanca. The students had the opportunity to discuss and interview 2 young farmers engaged in the cultivation of watermelons. In total, the students asked 80 questions. The class was facilitated by Zakaria Kadiri during one of the field visits.










Facilitation of training on gender for the benefit of the project team ( around the theme of gender and agrarian dynamics.

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