By Amal Ouyizeme
By Amal Ouyizeme
Morocco World News
Rabat, February 16, 2012
On Tuesday, the school of governance and economy (EGE) organized a seminar in Rabat on “Women and Drugs, Role and invisibility in the illegal economy.”
In the world of drugs, the role of women is often invisible, whether during the production process or during its commercialization. Yet, some studies recognize that the female workforce is essential in the production of cannabis.
Women in general are less criminalized than men in this field. We cannot imagine a woman in this area, because we think of drugs and its production as occurring in men’s world. We accuse women of consuming more than producing or marketing drugs.
Several Studies were performed in several countries such as India, Afghanistan or Turkey, some of which also conducted trials on the real involvement of Afghan women in the drug farming.
In Cuba, for example, among coca growers (those who produce coca leaves), women are more visible, taking part in production but refusing to be linked to drug trafficking.
In the Rif region in Morocco, some people have opted for this lucrative business. Of course, they are paid only 1% to 5% of the cannabis value in the market which is much more than what their traditional crops could bring. According to figures released in 2003 by UNODC (UN Office against Drugs and Crime), cannabis cultivation covered 134,000 hectares of 14 000 km2, whereas a quarter of the useful agricultural area is used for this practice.
This extension of farms underwent a sharp drop since 2004, falling to 95,000 hectares 70,000 hectares in 2005 and 45,000 hectares in 2010.
Sixty-per cent of the families living in the Northern provinces grow cannabis, which is actually the main source of revenue in this region of the Rif.
Women’s role in this production differs from one area to another. We find women in planting and in weeding, while the seeding, irrigation and all technical operations fall within the domain of men.
As for consumption, women are forbidden to consume cannabis.
Besides their participation in the production of cannabis, women are very active in the countryside. They perform both domestic tasks (housekeeping, meal preparation, etc) and agricultural tasks (small livestock, crops and crop participation, conservation, etc.)
The conditions of women farmers are unsustainable. In addition to the fact that their families are living in fear since cannabis production is an illegal activity, they risk their lives and their children.
Now, several projects and cooperatives have been created to help rural women and enable them to work in projects, such as olives and honey.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti