Rabat, Morocco – USAID and the International NGO GiveDirectly are providing an additional $4 million to support Moroccan agricultural cooperatives suffering from recent economic shocks, including the COVID-19 pandemic, drought, and inflation, and a global food crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
At the end of September, the U.S. Congress approved $2 million for a USAID program for Morocco, under special legislation aiming to alleviate the worst effects of the food crisis. GiveDirectly, an NGO based in New York that specializes in digital cash transfers, is providing $2 million in matching funds through the Cooperative Financing Program (CFP), which has already distributed $5.5 million to 607 cooperatives in the Marrakech-Safi and Beni Mellal-Khenifra regions, assisting nearly 4,000 Moroccans.
An additional 486 cooperatives in the regions of Draa-Tafilalet, Fes-Meknes, and Oriental have been enrolled in the program, bringing the total number of cooperatives to 1,093 and the total number of beneficiaries to over 7,000 people.
Cooperatives play a vital role in Morocco’s economic and social development. CFP, implemented by GiveDirectly, provides direct grants of 90,000 dirhams to cooperatives working across a variety of economic sectors, including agriculture, handicrafts, and tourism. This unique program provides cash infusions to cooperatives, enabling them to purchase equipment and raw materials. It also provides training to promote the cooperatives’ growth and resilience, especially during a period of economic hardship.
More than 59 percent of grant recipients thus far have been women, while 32 percent have been youth.
Over 56 percent of CFP-assisted cooperatives work in agriculture, which is the focus sector for this new $4 million infusion. With this new funding, USAID anticipates that more than 330 agriculture and agribusiness cooperatives in the most vulnerable provinces of the Draa-Tafilalet, Fes-Meknes, and Oriental regions will receive cash grants. CFP cash grants will strengthen household and community resilience to economic shocks and stresses, as well as increase opportunities for marginalized women, youth, and people with disabilities.
“The Cooperative Financing Program is a critical partnership with Moroccans at a grassroots level,” USAID Project Manager Salma Kadiri said. “These additional funds are targeted at Morocco’s agricultural sector, which had been struggling with the effects of the pandemic and drought, and is now dealing with increasing energy and materials prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Our hope is that this assistance will help those most in need.”
Jamila Abass, country director for GiveDirectly in Morocco, said: “With the global food crisis, rising living costs, extreme weather, and drought, more families are at risk of falling into poverty. Providing cash grants to vulnerable agricultural cooperatives is critical in mitigating these risks.”
For over 60 years, the United States and Morocco have worked together to make substantial improvements in the lives of Moroccan citizens through USAID development programming. Currently, USAID partners with the Moroccan government in education, economic growth, governance and community development.