Hanane Rifai, returning to her home region, is surprised to see many children in the fields – not at school – even when it is easily accessible. In discussing with the farmers of her region, she noted that the price of fodder, very high, requires them to put their herds to the pasture, and to have them watch, for lack of time, by their children. This leads her to explore ways to provide farmers with cheap fodder, and that’s how she and her brother founded HydroBarley.
The hydroponic plant and the production of fodder require very few raw materials. The company offers a way of producing fodder sustainably for farmers who need it with a system that allows a lot to be produced in arid areas without requiring large areas of land.
The company helps and encourages locals to use locally and sustainably produced fodder with a hydroponic system that saves water in an arid region.
HydroBarley produces hydroponic feed. This technique has many advantages: On the one hand, the productivity per unit area is much higher, which allows for large quantities of fodder without having a significant need for land. In fact, HydroBarley’s 50 square meter workshop has the same productivity as a 20 ha plot. On the other hand, water needs are low for hydroponics, which is of utmost importance in Morocco. Today, HydroBarley is able to produce 400 kg of feed per day.
HydroBarley’s production technology allows substantial water savings. This desire to avoid waste is reflected in the manufacture of hydroponic tanks, inclined to recover the excess water. This reduction in the cost of water crops is beneficial in a country regularly hit by water shortages.
The production of low-water feed is a valuable technique in an increasingly dry environment.
HydroBarley only needs very little land and raw materials to produce its fodder. This allows it to be very competitive on prices. For example, the price of fodder is halved relative to the market price, making it affordable for farmers.
Farmers who no longer need to have their children monitor their cattle can send them to school. In addition, the company has already created two jobs (in addition to the founders), for which Hanane Rifai has decided to employ unskilled workers.
An initiative such as HydroBarley can be easily replicated in many places, but will only be of real interest in a dry country where water savings are crucial. Arid countries can therefore be good frameworks for the reproduction of such an initiative, but this requires the necessary technical expertise
Copyright CirculAgronomie 2020