Slow Food launches a new Presidium to prevent the extinction of an ancient Moroccan wheat variety. The Presidium for Rif Einkorn Wheat becomes Morocco’s 5th.
This week, Slow Food officially launched the Presidium for Rif Einkorn Wheat, a local, hardy variety of Triticum monococcum. Einkorn wheat has long been a staple of the local diet, but in recent years, farmers have gradually abandoned it due to the arrival of new, high-yielding, hybrid grains. As a result, einkorn and other local grains are now at risk of becoming extinct in the region.
The new Presidium involves 15 producers in the villages of Al Mounia and Laanouniin (Kissane, Taounate Province), an area recognized as a biodiversity hotspot due to its impressive concentration of plant and animal species, as well as for its cultural diversity. The Presidium, funded by the Italian Slow Food Community Il giardino di Roberta, and Slow Food Convivium Colli del Valdarno Superiore, aims to promote not only this heritage variety, but local biodiversity in general.
The cultivation of Rif Einkorn Wheat, which is now primarily grown for family consumption, on a subsistence level, does not involve the use of herbicides and fertilizers, and irrigation is rarely needed. The seeds are produced by the farmers themselves. The harvest takes place between the end of July and the start of August and is traditionally carried out manually.
Rif Einkorn Wheat is used in various traditional recipes: The grains are cooked in soups, while the flour is used to prepare pasta (m’hamsa), pancakes (baghrir), and a bread with a sweet, nutty flavor. Toasted einkorn is used as a coffee substitute. In the past, the long, tough stalks were used to roof traditional stone houses (these days, sheets of metal are more typical). Some villages are still renowned for their skillful crafting of donkey and horse saddles stuffed with einkorn straw.
Morocco now has 5 Presidia (the others are Alnif Cumin, Argan Oil, Taliouine Saffron, and Zerradoun Salt), 38 products aboard the Ark of Taste, 67 gardens in the 10,000 Gardens in Africa project, and 10 chefs in the Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance.
* Slow Food Presidia are projects that support quality production at risk of extinction; protect unique regions and ecosystems; recover traditional processing methods; and safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties. Each Presidium involves a community of small-scale producers and provides technical assistance to improve production quality, identify new market outlets, and organize exchanges with producers internationally through large Slow Food events.
For more information about this presidium you can contact:
Souhad Azennoud – Présidente de la Coopérative Ariaf Kissane
+ 212 676889030 – firstname.lastname@example.org