Oasis okra or gumbo (Abelmoschus esculentus) from the Er-Rachidia region of Morocco is usually green in color, with a capsuled fruit that is 10-30 cm long. It is rich in fiber and antioxidants. The specific variety grown in the Moroccan oases is well adapted to the local climactic conditions. It is believed to have originated from a variety brought from sub-Saharan Africa by traders, and knowledge of how to cultivate and cook it has become part of the local food tradition over time. This variety is maintained by a producers’ community in Sifa, who saves the seeds, and is also grown in the areas of Jorf, Alnif, Rissani and Erfoud. It is grown over about 80 hectares with a production yield averaging 15 tons per hectare. In the oases, okra is cooked in different ways and used in a variety of dishes. However, cultivation and therefore local use of this variety is declining. This is due to the introduction of other varieties from other parts of Morocco, particularly the north, into the area.
Image: © Marco Del Comune & Oliver Migliore