Laghouat Algeria



Keywords: Laghouat Algeria
Description: The district of Laghouat is in the centre of Algeria, just at the edge of the great Sahara desert. It has a long history…

The district of Laghouat is in the centre of Algeria, just at the edge of the great Sahara desert. It has a long history of agricultural significance and is renowned as a city of intellectuals with a flourishing culture, acting as a bridge between the Sahara region and the north of the country. While agricultural labour is traditionally highly respected, the effect of Algeria’s rapid shift to reliance on a hydrocarbon economy – that is, oil and gas extraction and export – has led to a shortage of young people willing to engage in manual, outdoor work.

As a result, the biggest challenge that farmers in the reion now face is demographic. Most are over 50 years old, and are looking to a new generation to take over. However, it has become rare for young people to show an interest in farming as a career. The climatic conditions are hard, with very hot summers and cold winters. The tendency is for young people to look for relatively secure administrative jobs which are considered ‘easy’ in comparison to the physically demanding nature of farm work.

When farmer and social entrepreneur Mohammed Brik established the El Argoub farmers’ association, attracting youth into farming was not the main focus. Starting with a group of around 40 neighbouring small-holders, the objectives were to bring farmers together to build a sense of community, share tips and techniques from their farming experience, and develop organic farming practices, particularly in the rehabilitation of palm tree husbandry.

Brik owns an 8-hectare farm and promotes organic methods with the aim of deriving commercial results from sustainable farming. He recognizes that truly sustainable development in agriculture can only be achieved with organic farming, which requires a minimum level of respect for the environment – particularly in terms of pest control, genetically modified organisms and other environmentally damaging materials – and good management of water resources.

The commercial viability of these methods is crucial. “It is an entrepreneurial spirit that drives us, in the sense that we picked up pieces of land that are very hard to work, that needed a lot of money. The results reflect the effort we have made over a period of many years. Each farmer has developed his farm according to his financial capacities and his skills, and what is hard about the farming business is that the results of our efforts take a long time to appear.”

This entrepreneurial community consists of a community of small farmers and breeders in Laghouat, a town on the border of Sahara. The partnership is centred around three key objectives:

    working in groups to identify potential skills and inform and train fellow farmers to improve their performance; simplify farming theories and methods for illiterate farmers; motivate youth in daily tasks; and multiply contacts with other associations and groups of farmers to widen scope and exchange experiences.




Photogallery Laghouat Algeria:



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