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The Politics of Food in Modern Morocco$
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Stacy E. Holden

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813033730

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813033730.001.0001

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The Colonial Preservation of the Miller’s Trade

The Colonial Preservation of the Miller’s Trade

(p.119) 5 The Colonial Preservation of the Miller’s Trade
The Politics of Food in Modern Morocco

Stacy E. Holden

University Press of Florida

Like Moroccan sultans, French administrators tried to ensure the provisioning of affordable flour to urban workers and the poor. Requiring massive amounts of start-up capital, industrial mills proved a costly and inefficient means of achieving this objective. The French therefore implemented policies that privileged the continued operation of water mills by Moroccan millers. Entrepreneurial investments highlighted the profits of the water mill's small-scale flour production. A continued reliance on the water mill also served colonial policies aimed at full employment of Moroccan workers. Factories required less manpower than water mills, and to forestall social and political unrest, French officials wanted to protect Moroccans from the dislocation of rapid modernization. This chapter argues that water mills, in terms of both cost and productive capacity, outperformed the industrial facilities operated by Europeans during the first seventeen years of the protectorate.

Keywords:   water mill, Moroccan sultans, flour production, French administrators

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