article by Marlène Pauly
A walk through the beautiful countryside to what's left of the best remaining pre-industrial sugar factory globally, left me full of wonder, with a bitter-sweet taste when I read the story of our guide Gilles Texier.
I could start to overwhelm you with historical backgrounds, figures, and details.
I could explain why it reminded me so much of the El Baadi palace in Marrakech, but I would only be able to share a glimpse of what you look at when you are there.
One can not even imagine how fertile this area really was before the devastating introduction of the sugar cane...
Sugar had (and still is) always been a Moroccan temptation.
"Sugar follows the Qur'an," says the saying.
It is true that as early as the 9th century there is a trace of cane cultivation in the regions of Fez and Tangier. Until the 16'th century, we find traces almost all over Morocco and mainly in the Souss.
Throughout this long period, it is a low-intensity crop of a quantity and quality that is rather poor and an export oriented towards "Sudan" and the countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
In the first quarter of the sixteenth century, the arrival of the Saadian sultans in power will drastically change this situation.
The Saadiens from a very early stage, understand the economic value of the white gold for a new continent that opened its doors to them, Europe.
And so factories were built at the speed of light, and one of them was:
The Souira Qedima Sugar Factory.
This sugar factory and its hydraulic network were built, in all likelihood, between 1575 - 1578.
To establish such units, 4 conditions are necessary:
- wood in abundance
- water in abundance
- fertile lands easy to irrigate
- men, specialists, and workers
Mogador's sugar factory does not escape these requirements.
How this has changed the environment for ever and what an impact it had on human lives, I leave all this for you to discover when here. You can
if you want to make a tour with Gilles Texier, the man who traveled the world to do the research. Gilles also has been writing a study, together with André Bonnal and Edouard Pottier that gives one a good insight on the production of the sugar, the consequences and the disappearance only 50 years later...
Most parts of this text come from this essay.