The Importance of Institutions in Mountainous Regions for Accessing Markets: An Example from the Moroccan High Atlas
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Markus Buerli, Aden A. Aw-Hassan, Youssef Rachidi. (1/8/2008). The Importance of Institutions in Mountainous Regions for Accessing Markets: An Example from the Moroccan High Atlas. Mountain Research and Development, 28 (3), pp. 233-239.
Like other mountainous regions in the world, the High Atlas suffers from a number of disadvantages, primarily related to its marginality, topographical fragmentation, and harsh environmental conditions. It is characterized by limited, fragile, and highly degraded natural resources, low incomes, and a high poverty level. People living in mountainous areas are among the poorest in the Near East and North Africa (IFAD 2002). The present study analyzed the importance of a cooperative-as one example of a rural institution-in facilitating smallholders' access to markets, its impact on the livelihood strategies of households, and the implications for poverty reduction. Communities in two valleys with similar bio-physical conditions in the Moroccan High Atlas, Taddarine and Anougal, were compared. Whereas Taddarine has a paved road but no marketing institution, Anougal features a dairy cooperative but does not have a paved road. Rapid rural appraisal methods and household surveys were used to gather data on livelihood assets and activities. The value chains of the main product in either valley-apples in Taddarine and milk in Anougal-were analyzed using market mapping methodology. In Anougal, with no paved road and no electricity, the milk collection center of the dairy cooperative has made dairy production the most important source of income for the farmers. In contrast, dairy production and marketing has not developed in Taddarine, which has a paved road and electricity but no dairy cooperative. The most important source of income,For these farmers is fruit production, with transport being facilitated by the paved road. The study shows that although road infrastructure in remote mountain communities is a necessary condition for market access, it is not sufficient. The development of local institutions-in this case a dairy cooperative-that facilitate market access by reducing marketing costs and opening up economies of scale, is essential.
- Agricultural Research Knowledge 
Aw-Hassan, Aden A.https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9236-4949