Morocco: saw replaces axe in cork harvesting Morocco: saw replaces axe in cork harvesting

Morocco: saw replaces axe in cork harvesting

Morocco: saw replaces axe in cork harvesting

Morocco is known for its robust, full-bodied red wines, but perhaps less so for the corks that prevent bottles from being damaged when uncorked. A revolutionary saw is now replacing the traditional axe in cork harvesting. Quite a handy method.

Axes damage trees, creating openings where diseases can creep in, threatening their health and longevity.

Now, the industry is introducing a new lightweight, battery-powered electric saw that calculates the depth of the cork bark, allowing for more efficient bark removal and reduced damage to trees, says Abderrahim Houmy, director general of the National Office of Water and Forests.

"It is a technology that will protect the trees and cause them less injury. The second objective is to increase the cork harvest. Thanks to this technology, we can obtain large boards and avoid small pieces that have a low value in the market. The third objective is to better adapt the harvest season, because, with climate change, we have noticed that this period is becoming very variable and very short."

A pilot program for training cork technicians is underway in the Rabat-SalΓ©-KΓ©nitra region, with the aim of generalizing the new practices throughout Morocco by 2025.

The Amorim Portugal group has been operating a cork factory in Morocco since 1972 and is contributing to the introduction of this new technique in the Moroccan cork industry, explains Francisco Carvalho of Amorim:

"As part of the partnership between our company and all other industrialists, we are ready to share all the experience we have acquired in Portugal as well as all the new technologies we are developing thanks to a huge investment in research and development."

According to the Moroccan Association of Cork Manufacturers, the sector has faced two years of incessant drought that has caused unprecedented stagnation in the cork industry.

Its president, Mohamed Anas, is convinced that the implementation of the new technology will help give Moroccan industry the boost it desperately needs.

"With this machine, we will work in a cleaner and healthier way. This means that the machine will take care of the bark of the tree, which will cause fewer injuries, as was the case in the past when we used axes. We will also have larger boards and fewer small pieces. The market value will be better," he adds.

Technicians, for their part, say that replacing the axe with the saw will not only make their work easier, but will increase their income by allowing them to produce more cork in a shorter period of time.

"The market value will increase both for the cork and for the technicians who will use the new machines. One of the advantages of this machine is that it allows us to know the depth of the cork in the tree we want to work on," explains Hamid Belabid, team leader.

Cork is used in fashion, construction and wine.

Morocco's cork oak forests rank third in the world in terms of area, according to the Portugal-based Natural Cork Council, with 383,000 hectares of forest, or 18% of the world's total forest area, producing 6% of total cork production.

Portugal is the world's leading producer of cork, producing more than 50% of the world's cork products according to the Natural Cork Council, with a forest area of ​​737,000 hectares.

Moroccan government data for 2023 shows exports of 7,021 tons of cork products, bringing about 204.9 million Moroccan dirhams to the economy, or about 20.5 million US dollars.

1 Comments

  1. It's showcasing technological advancement in traditional practices.





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